Patient-Centered Approaches to Using BMI to Evaluate Gender-Affirming Surgery Eligibility

Whitney Riley Linsenmeyer, Sarah Garwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Body mass index (BMI) cutoffs are routinely used to assess eligibility for gender-affirming surgeries (GAS), yet they are not empirically based. The transgender population is disproportionately affected by overweight and obesity due to clinical and psychosocial influences on body size. Strict BMI requirements for GAS are likely to cause harm by delaying care or denying patients the benefits of GAS. A patient-centered approach to assessing GAS eligibility with respect to BMI would utilize reliable predictors of surgical outcomes specific to each gender-affirming surgery, include measures of body composition and body fat distribution rather than BMI alone, center on the patient's desired body size, and emphasize collaboration and support if the patient genuinely desires weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E398-E406
JournalAMA Journal of Ethics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


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