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Bariatric Surgery

Definition Bariatric surgery refers to a group of medical procedures aimed at reducing a person’s body weight by surgically altering their digestive system. It is often recommended for individuals diagnosed with obesity and related health issues. Under the VA benefits, eligible veterans may receive bariatric surgery as part of their healthcare coverage in order to […]


Bariatric surgery refers to a group of medical procedures aimed at reducing a person’s body weight by surgically altering their digestive system. It is often recommended for individuals diagnosed with obesity and related health issues. Under the VA benefits, eligible veterans may receive bariatric surgery as part of their healthcare coverage in order to improve their overall health and quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure that can be covered under VA benefits for eligible veterans.
  2. Eligibility for bariatric surgery within VA benefits requires meeting specific criteria, including having a BMI of 35 or more and obesity-related health conditions.
  3. For VA benefits coverage of bariatric surgery, veterans may need to complete mandatory pre-operative programs and post-operative follow-up for continued care and success.


Bariatric surgery is an important term in relation to VA benefits because it refers to weight loss surgeries that may be crucial for eligible veterans in improving their health and quality of life.

These surgeries can help address obesity-related issues commonly found among veterans, such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may offer this procedure as a part of its health care coverage for qualifying service members who meet specific criteria, including unsuccessful attempts at weight loss through nonsurgical methods.

By providing access to bariatric surgery via VA benefits, the department supports the health and well-being of veterans, promoting their transition to a healthier lifestyle and potentially reducing the need for long-term medical care.


Bariatric surgery, a term commonly associated with VA benefits, serves a crucial purpose in managing obesity and weight-related health issues among veterans. This type of surgery primarily targets the reduction of excess body weight and helps prevent or resolve conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and other conditions that stem from obesity.

As veterans may often struggle with weight management due to both physical and mental challenges, bariatric surgery presents a vital approach to maintaining overall health and improving their quality of life. With the support of VA benefits, eligible veterans can take advantage of bariatric surgery options tailored to their individual needs.

VA benefits ensure access to this life-changing procedure and a comprehensive weight management program that includes nutritional counseling, psychological counseling, and regular follow-ups with healthcare professionals. By offering financial and medical support, the VA provides veterans with an opportunity to regain control over their health and make long-lasting, positive lifestyle changes.

The ultimate goal of bariatric surgery within the context of VA benefits is to promote healthier, happier lives for veterans, who have bravely served their country.

Examples of Bariatric Surgery

Jessica, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, struggled with obesity due to a combination of factors, including a sedentary lifestyle and PTSD-related depression. After consulting with her doctors and realizing she could utilize her VA benefits, Jessica undergoes bariatric surgery. The procedure significantly improves her BMI (body mass index), allowing her to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Miami Health Care System offers bariatric surgery as part of its comprehensive weight loss management program. A veteran named Michael, facing serious health issues due to excess body weight, receives gastric bypass surgery there. The procedure leads to a significant weight loss, resulting in improved overall health and a reduced risk of weight-related complications.

Sarah, a retired Navy veteran, becomes eligible for bariatric surgery through her VA benefits after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. These conditions are related to her morbid obesity, and her doctor determines that bariatric surgery would be the best treatment option. After undergoing the surgery, Sarah experiences significant weight loss, better blood sugar control, and a reduction in her blood pressure; these benefits help her manage her chronic health conditions with long-lasting effects.

FAQ: Bariatric Surgery VA Benefits

1. Are veterans eligible for bariatric surgery coverage through the VA?

Yes, veterans may be eligible for bariatric surgery coverage through the VA if they meet certain criteria, such as having a BMI of 35 or greater with obesity-related health conditions or a BMI of 40 or greater without related health conditions.

2. How do I apply for bariatric surgery coverage through the VA?

To apply for bariatric surgery coverage, you can contact your local VA healthcare facility and discuss your eligibility with your primary care provider. They will guide you through the necessary evaluations and assessments to determine if you qualify for the procedure.

3. Does the VA cover all types of bariatric surgery?

The VA typically covers various types of bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding. Your healthcare team will recommend the most appropriate procedure based on your individual needs and medical history.

4. Will the VA pay for bariatric surgery performed outside of a VA facility?

In some cases, the VA may cover bariatric surgery performed at a non-VA facility. This typically occurs when a VA facility is unable to perform the procedure due to capacity or lack of specialists. In these cases, the VA may authorize care through the Veterans Choice Program or community care providers.

5. What kind of follow-up care can I expect after bariatric surgery through the VA?

After bariatric surgery, the VA provides comprehensive follow-up care which includes regular medical check-ups, dietary counseling, support groups, and mental health services as needed to assist you in maintaining long-term weight loss and overall health improvement.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Adjustable Gastric Banding
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch
  • Weight Loss Surgery Eligibility Criteria

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: The official website for VA provides comprehensive information on benefits and services, including bariatric surgery options for eligible veterans.
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS): A professional, non-profit organization for bariatric surgeons and healthcare professionals. The site offers resources related to bariatric surgery, including information tailored for veterans.
  • Obesity Action Coalition (OAC): A non-profit dedicated to educating and advocating for people affected by obesity. Their website provides resources and information about bariatric surgery, including coverage options available through VA benefits.
  • Bariatric Surgery Source: An online platform offering extensive information on different types of bariatric surgeries, including resources specifically focused on veterans and VA benefits.

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