Friday, February 15, 2013

New Standards for Bariatric Surgery?

Up until pretty recently, the fairly universal standard for health insurance coverage of weight loss surgery was a BMI (body mass index) of 35. However, today's news (also featured on our Facebook page today), tells us that the Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked as one one the top four hospitals nationwide, now considers people with BMIs as low as 30 to be candidates for bariatric procedures. There is another proviso, however. They must also have type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common illness and one that is more serious than a lot of people think.

While 30 on the BMI scale is the lowest possible measurement considered obese, the growing evidence of the effectiveness of obesity surgery against diabetes has obviously been a major factor in the Cleveland Clinic's decision. Moreover, considering the possible outcomes of type 2 diabetes, which range from heart disease to outright destruction of the kidneys, especially when combined with high blood pressure, it seems to us that it's more than past time for a reevaluation of when a bariatric procedure is medically beneficial or even, in some instances, necessary.

Of course, all patients are different and BMI by itself is something of a blunt instrument when measuring obesity. Still, patients who may be only mildly obese may be excellent candidates for a sleeve gastrectomy, a lap band, or other less invasive procedures. Bariatric surgery isn't for everyone, but if you've seen what diabetes can do to a person over the course of a lifetime, you might agree that perhaps more people cold benefit from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment