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Patient Eligibility

Bariatric Surgery Requirements 

To be eligible for weight-loss surgery, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, OR
  • Have a BMI of 35-40 with at least one obesity related condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
  • Weigh less than 450 pounds, as the hospital radiology equipment cannot accomodate weights beyond this. A nutritionist is available to help should you need to lose excess weight to meet this requirement.

To make an appointment with the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center, you must also:

  • Have a referral from your primary care provider or specialist.
  • Verify that your insurance plan will cover bariatric surgery at UCSF once insurance requirements are met.  Please note that we only accept Medi-Cal patients who are San Francisco County residents.

Bariatric Surgery Evaluation Process 

Before your first appointment with the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center, please complete the following:

  • Ensure you are up to date with all your routine preventative health screenings.  Examples include mammogram and colonoscopy.  Your primary care provider can assist you with this.
  • Submit your medical history questionnaire through MyChart 

New Patient Visit

During the new patient visit, your surgeon will give you a list of tests needed for your evaluation. This usually includes blood tests, medical imaging and, in some cases, minor procedures such as an upper endoscopy to confirm you're a good candidate for surgery. You can complete these tests at UCSF or with your local health care provider if you live outside the Bay Area.

We'll also review your insurance company's requirements for approving weight-loss surgery. Many insurance plans require three to six months of medically supervised weight-loss attempts before surgery. The UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center offers a Pathways to Weight Loss Clinic to help patients meet this requirement. If you live outside the Bay Area, you can complete these visits with your primary care provider.

Lastly, we will help you schedule pre-surgical appointments with our bariatric dietitian and psychiatrist.

*Due to COVID-19, we have transitioned all of our appointments in the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center to video visits through the Zoom video conferencing platform.  This includes our Pathways Clinic, bariatric dietitian and bariatric psychiatrist appointments.  

Pre-Operative Visit

Once you've completed all necessary tests and met insurance requirements for surgery, you'll return to the Bariatric Surgery Center for your preoperative visit. During this appointment, your surgeon will discuss what to expect before, during and after surgery. We'll also set a date for your operation, which is usually four to six weeks after this visit.

Important Points to Know 

  • If you use tobacco, you must stop at least six weeks before surgery to decrease your risk of postoperative complications. We strongly recommend quitting permanently to help you meet your health goals.
  • Please notify us of any change in your insurance coverage, as it could impact your approval for surgery. We will request verification of coverage for bariatric surgery from your insurance company about six weeks before the surgery.
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