Can I Get Gastric Band Surgery if my BMI is Normal?

I am 5'5" and weigh 59 kilograms (130 pounds) and have an average BMI; however, i am struggling to lose a bit more weight as a result of my ability and desire to eat very large amounts of food.

I would really like the gastric band to normalise my portions, can I get it done at a private clinic and pay for it myself even though my BMI is normal?

Doctor Answers 4

Lap-Band for Normal BMI

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Lap-Band surgery is designed to lead to safe and sustained weight loss for individuals who are overweight or obese.


If someone has a BMI within the normal range it is unlikely that there would be much benefit derived from the procedure. Although Lap-Band surgery is a very safe procedure, it would only be advised if there was benefit to be obtained.


It is unlikely that someone with a BMI in the normal range would achieve substantial weight loss, nor would that necessarily be desirable. Therefore, the Lap-Band is not approved for use (in Canada) unless the BMI is greater than 30 with health issues related to the weight (co-morbidities) or all individuals with BMI greater than 35.

Mississauga Bariatric Surgeon

BMI and Lap-Band

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To qualify for a Lap-Band you need a BMI of at least 35 with medical problems or a BMI of 40 with no medical problems.  We are hoping that the FDA will approve the Lap-Band for BMI 30 - 35 early next year.

Gastric Band for low BMI patients

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Patients with a BMI less than 32 are typically discouraged to have lap band surgery since there has not been any proven benefit and there are risks associated with this surgery. In this case the risk / benefit ratio is high. In this case, say a patient with a BMI less than 30, continue to focus on portion control, avoid carbohydrated past 8 pm, focus or cardio to maintain a 60 percent of maximal heart rate for 30 to 40 minutes (cardio to be done 3 to 4 times per week). This will help increase your metabolism and curb your weight gain.

Ricardo M. Bonnor, MD, FACS
Houston General Surgeon

BMI for gastric band

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Although the gastric band is a very safe procedure there are risks associated with any surgery. The goal of weight loss surgery is to prevent or decrease health issues related to obesity. With a person of a higher BMI the health benefits of weight loss outweigh the risk of the surgery. With a person of a healthy weight such as yourself, the risk of the surgery is greater than the benefit.

William Neal, MD (in memoriam)
Olympia Bariatric Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.