Experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and 45 worldwide scientific and medical societies are pushing to change guidelines that would allow more patients with obesity and diabetes to be eligible for bariatric surgery.
As chronic obesity worsens, it may also lead to diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Early intervention, such as bariatric surgery, is key to helping these patients, says Stacy Brethauer, MD, a surgeon at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.
Dr. Brethauer also is a past president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, which drafted new criteria that would make these patients with a lower body mass index (BMI) and diabetes eligible for bariatric surgery sooner.
Multiple clinical studies have proven the benefits of bariatric surgery in patients with a lower BMI. Now it's up to referring physicians and insurance companies to more widely adopt these new standards so that more patients can receive the treatment they need, Dr. Brethauer says.