Am I a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery

Our program teams work with each patient to develop a weight loss strategy and choose the surgery that is right for them. Each recommendation is made on a case-by-case basis, with the patient's weight loss needs and their overall lifestyle in mind. As with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications can occur with weight loss surgery. We're committed to providing you with the information you need to make a well-informed decision about your surgery.

Do I qualify for bariatric surgery?

We know that pursuing a surgical solution for weight loss is a serious decision and want to ensure that you are an ideal candidate for the surgery. To us, our program requirements mean you:

  • Have been overweight for more than five years
  • Have seriously tried other diets
  • Do not have untreated medical conditions that could be causing obesity
  • Show evidence of weight loss in our preoperative weight management program
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of:
    • 35 or more with at least one weight-related medical condition
    • 40 or more with no weight-related medical condition
  • Are at least 18 years old

Contact Us

Our health experts are here to assist you, call us at:


Take the first step in your journey to weight loss and complete our online seminar:


Additionally, you must be:

  • Committed to a major lifestyle change
  • Healthy enough to undergo a major operation
  • Free of unstable psychiatric issues
  • Free from alcohol, tobacco, or substance abuse

Prepare for your appointment with a specialist

In preparing for an appointment with a MedStar Health bariatric specialist, be sure to:

  • Attend our information seminar. This is a free service and mandatory for those entering the program.
  • Obtain a referral (if necessary) from your primary care physician.
  • Bring your documentation. If you attended any weight management programs in the past two years, bring that documentation for your initial consultation.

Important facts about bariatric procedures

After lifestyle changes haven’t worked, and you’ve spoken to your doctor about surgery to help you lose weight — for good — consider these tips:

  • Bariatric procedures are not always covered by health insurance. Be sure to investigate whether your policy will cover surgery first. (Please note: we cannot accept insurance through Amerigroup, Maryland Physicians Care, or Priority Partners).
  • What is the cost of surgery? During your initial consultation, it’s important that you discuss outcomes with your doctor. The procedure will be explained in detail, including risks and benefits, the recovery period, and the cost associated with weight loss surgery.
  • It takes time—and commitment. Surgery cannot be scheduled until a rigorous program (including dietary evaluation and counseling, psychological evaluation, cardiac clearance and more) has been completed, which can take six months to a year.
  • Be ready for major changes. Surgery is a tool to help patients lose weight, but major changes in the way a patient eats and how much he or she exercises are critical to whether they are successful at keeping the weight off long-term. Patients will undergo a radical, permanent change to their diet and lifestyle, which the preparation process is designed to help them achieve.
  • Support is key. Led by a bariatric coordinator with a registered dietitian present, our support group meetings are a great opportunity to learn more and find camaraderie.