* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Weight Loss Surgery


Weight Loss Surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, refers to a variety of surgical procedures aimed at reducing a patient’s body weight in order to improve overall health. In the context of VA benefits, eligible veterans may qualify for weight loss surgery coverage if it is deemed medically necessary and meets specific criteria. These surgeries often help address obesity-related health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension, that impact veterans’ quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Weight Loss Surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a possible option for eligible veterans under VA benefits to help treat obesity and its related health conditions.
  2. Eligibility for Weight Loss Surgery under VA benefits requires the veteran to meet certain criteria, which typically includes a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher, along with related health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, or hypertension.
  3. The VA weight loss surgery program includes pre-and post-operative care and education, covering various types of bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding.


Weight Loss Surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is an important term within VA benefits because it highlights the assistance provided by the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system in addressing obesity-related health issues prevalent among veterans.

Bariatric surgery involves various medical procedures designed to help patients with significant weight loss through the reduction of stomach size, limiting their food consumption and absorption.

As obesity can contribute to several co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart diseases, and hypertension, this weight loss intervention can improve the quality of life for veterans and lower healthcare costs for the VA system.

By including weight loss surgery among VA benefits, the department underscores its commitment to supporting veterans with effective treatment options, contributing to the promotion of their overall health and wellbeing.


Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a medical intervention aimed at helping individuals with obesity achieve significant weight loss, leading to improved overall health and well-being. The purpose of such surgical procedures is not only to promote weight loss but also to alleviate or reduce the risk of numerous severe health conditions that are linked to obesity.

These conditions include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and others that could ultimately be life-threatening if left unaddressed. As a part of the VA benefits, eligible veterans can access life-changing weight loss surgery, as the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes the crucial importance of addressing obesity and its related health issues in maintaining service members’ physical and mental well-being.

The objective of weight loss surgery is to alter the digestive system’s anatomy, thereby limiting calorie consumption, as well as absorption by the body. There are different types of surgeries available, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), each with distinct approaches and potential benefits.

The eligibility of veterans for weight loss surgery under VA benefits is determined by evaluating factors such as BMI, the presence of comorbidities, previous attempts to lose weight through non-surgical approaches, and evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. Ultimately, weight loss surgery serves a critical purpose in assisting veterans in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, which in turn enhances their quality of life and enables them to lead an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

Examples of Weight Loss Surgery

The VA Benefits term “Weight Loss Surgery” refers to bariatric surgery procedures that are covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system to address obesity in eligible veterans. Here are three real-world examples of weight loss surgeries eligible veterans might undergo:

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass: In this procedure, a small stomach pouch is created, and a portion of the small intestine is bypassed. The smaller stomach pouch helps patients feel full sooner, thus reducing caloric intake. The bypassed small intestine section reduces nutrient and calorie absorption. This surgery is effective for long-term weight loss and may also improve obesity-related health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

Sleeve Gastrectomy: Also known as the gastric sleeve procedure, sleeve gastrectomy involves the surgical removal of a large portion of the patient’s stomach, leaving behind a smaller, sleeve-shaped stomach. This reduces the amount of food that can be eaten, leading to reduced caloric intake and weight loss. This procedure often results in significant weight loss and can improve obesity-related health conditions.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: This procedure involves the placement of an adjustable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch. The band can be adjusted to control the size of the opening, allowing for the amount of food intake to be controlled. The surgery promotes weight loss by limiting food intake and encouraging a feeling of fullness after eating small amounts of food. The gastric band can be adjusted over time as the patient loses weight or experiences changes in their overall health.In all of these examples, eligible veterans receiving weight loss surgery through the VA healthcare system can benefit from the medical supervision and support services provided by the department. This includes consultations, pre- and post-operative care, and long-term follow-up appointments to encourage a successful weight loss journey.

FAQ: Weight Loss Surgery VA Benefits

1. What is the eligibility criteria for weight loss surgery under VA benefits?

In order to be eligible for weight loss surgery under the VA healthcare system, veterans must meet certain criteria, such as having a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or greater with at least one obesity-related comorbidity or a BMI of 40 or greater without any comorbidities. They must have tried and failed more conservative weight loss treatments, and must be mentally and medically prepared to undergo surgery as a last resort.

2. Where can I receive weight loss surgery under VA benefits?

Weight loss surgeries are performed at VA or contract healthcare facilities that have bariatric surgery programs. The facility must be accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). Your local VA facility can provide you with more information on where to receive weight loss surgery under VA benefits.

3. What types of weight loss surgeries are covered under VA benefits?

Under the VA healthcare system, commonly covered weight loss surgeries include Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding. The specific type of weight loss surgery that is best for you will be determined by your healthcare team after a thorough evaluation of your health and medical history.

4. Will the VA cover the costs of weight loss surgery?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may cover the costs of bariatric surgery if the surgery is deemed medically necessary and the patient meets the eligibility criteria. Approvals for weight loss surgery are made on a case-by-case basis. It is important to discuss your potential coverage with your VA healthcare provider.

5. Are there any additional services or support provided by the VA for patients who have undergone weight loss surgery?

The VA offers a comprehensive support system for patients who have undergone weight loss surgery. This includes pre-operative education, ongoing nutrition counseling, regular follow-up care, and support groups. These services are designed to help you achieve and maintain long-term weight loss success.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Gastric Bypass Surgery
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Adjustable Gastric Banding
  • Health Benefits and Services (related to weight loss surgery)

Sources for More Information