Obesity is a serious problem in the UK affecting roughly one in four adults. Weight loss surgery is a medical procedure developed for people who are seriously overweight and is commonly referred to as bariatric or metabolic surgery.
Weight loss surgery is a serious procedure and should only be considered as a last resort if traditional weight loss techniques like dieting and exercise have not worked.
The results of such a procedure can be positive. Not only will you notice a significant drop in weight, but you should see a general improvement in disorders associated with obesity like blood pressure and diabetes.
Types of weight loss surgery
Each type of weight loss surgery works in a slightly different way. Usually, the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and the surgeon uses a medical technique known as keyhole surgery or laparoscopy, a minimal invasive procedure, to examine the organs in the abdomen.
A band is place around the top of the stomach to create a small pouch. This will limit the amount of food you need to eat to feel full.
A device, which is connected to the band, is placed under the skin and is used to adjust the tightness of the band. Four to six weeks after the surgery the band is tightened for the first time, but will require additional sessions to tighten the band to get the ideal fit.
Gastric bypass surgery works by changing the way your stomach and intestines process food.
A small section at the top of your stomach is stabled to create a small pouch. The pouch is then connected directly to the small intestines, bypassing the rest of the stomach.
Because of this surgery you will consume less food and reduce your calorie intake.
A sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure where roughly 80% of the stomach is removed by cutting along the length of the stomach.
Because the cut is made top to bottom, along the stomach, food enters and leave the stomach in the same way it did before the surgery, unlike a gastric bypass where the small intestine needs to be reconnected to the stomach in a different position.
Because of this surgery you will consume less food and reduce your calorie intake.
A soft balloon filled with air or salt water is placed in the stomach to limit the amount of food you can consume before feeling full.
This is only a temporary solution and the balloon will be remove after six months.
Like a gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion changes the way food is processed by making the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass parts of the intestine. The advantage of this is you absorb even less calories from the food you eat, but the procedure may have more side effects.
Which weight loss surgery is for me?
- If you’re looking for the type of surgery that’ll help you lose significant weight, fast, then gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy may be the option for you.
- Gastric brand in comparison is much slower and the results may not be as dramatic.
- Gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy are higher risk procedures.
- Gastric brand is a reversible procedure whereas gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy are not.
There are clearly many personal factors that’ll need to be considered before your surgeon can recommend a weight loss treatment. Once you start the conversation with your surgeon they’ll be able to do the appropriate assessments and answer any questions.
Cost of weight loss surgery
There are many factors that affect the cost of weight loss surgery in the UK. The type of surgery you need and where you choose to have your surgery are a couple of key factors that will determine the cost of your surgery.
Analysing third-party online data we have identified the following costs for weight loss surgery in the UK:
Gastric band surgery costs between £5,000 and £11,000, with a median average cost of £6,700.
Gastric bypass surgery costs between £9,000 and £12,500, with a median average cost of £10,600.
Sleeve gastrectomy surgery costs between £8,000 and £11,100, with a median average cost of £9,800.
Gastric balloon surgery costs between £3,300 and £5,700, with a median average cost of £4,100.
Assessment for weight loss surgery?
Being overweight does not automatically qualify you for weight loss surgery. Before you are deemed to be suitable for surgery you’ll be referred to a specialist for an assessment and consultation. During this process your physical health and wellbeing will be checked, which may include blood tests and scans. Additionally, a review of your eating habits and your expectation from the surgery will be reviewed to see if you can adapt to life after surgery.
After weight loss surgery
Weight loss surgery alone isn’t a cure for the factors that cause obesity. It requires a lot commitment and a change in lifestyle to maintain the weight loss achieved through surgery. Failing to fully commit may result in putting weight back on.
- Maintain a balanced diet – for life
- Get active and exercise – for life
- Attended follow up sessions to check your progress.
Risks of weight loss surgery.
Like all surgical procedures, weight loss surgery carries some risks:
- After weight loss you may be left with excess loose skin
- You may need to take vitamin tablets to compensate for what you’re not getting from your diet
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Gastric band slipping out of place
- Gut getting blocked
It’s advised you discuss surgical risks in more detail with the clinic and surgeon during your assessment and consultation.
What is Obesity?
The term “obese” literally means to be grossly fat or overweight and is used to describe people that fit this classification.
There are many ways to define or classify a person based on their weight. The most commonly used method to do this is with the Body Mass Index (BMI) which gives you a score based on a weight to height ratio.
Typical BMI scores for adults and their meaning:
- 18.5 to 24.9 – Healthy weight
- 25 to 29.9 – Overweight
- 30 to 39.0 – Obese
- 40+ – Severely obese
One of the major flaws with this technique is it doesn’t take muscle mass into consideration. A person with low body fat who is muscular may still score high in this test. Having said that, this shouldn’t be a significant issue for the average person.
Waste size is another measure used to diagnose obesity. Typically, men with waists greater than 37in and women with waists that 31.5in are deemed to be at greater risk of developing obesity related health problems.
what are the causes of obesity?
Access to cheap foods with high calories and lots of sugar is becoming an increasing problem in modern life. Having a poor diet and not much exercise is a major contributor to obesity. Naturally, if you consume more calories than you use your body will convert the excess energy into fat.
Aside from the excesses of modern life, there are also certain health conditions that can cause weight gain. These include:
- Underactive thyroid glands
- Crushing syndrome
Medication for certain conditions may also cause weight gain like:
How to choose where to go for weight loss surgery?
Typically, when looking for a hospital or clinic in the UK you should check to see if they’re registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC are the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, responsible for monitoring and regulating hospital and care services. There you will be able to access reports and ratings to help you make the best choice
At Mhc we have developed a user-friendly healthcare directory portal for people looking for treatments, like weight loss surgery, to easily search for, find and contact hospitals and clinics in the UK. To make things even easier for patients and visitors, we take extra care to ensure that all clinics and hospitals we work with are registered with the CQC.
In addition to finding a place to have weight loss surgery, you should also research and consider the doctor who is going to carry out the surgery. All doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). There you can access the surgeon’s work history.
Although Mhc can help you find a clinic, hospital or doctor, we recommend you thoroughly assess and research the care providers you choose before moving forward.
Things to consider before your procedure
Opting for any form of cosmetic surgery requires a lot of careful thought and consideration. You need to really understand the reasons for choosing the procedure you want and set realistic expectations of the outcome. As we’ve pointed out earlier, every surgery, big or small, contains some level of risk.
Once your mind is made up, are you confident that you are fully prepared for the treatment?
Here are some things you should think about:
- If you have children, do you need childcare?
- Do you have adequate space to recover?
- How long is the recovery time for your treatment?
- How long do you need to take off work?
- When will you start to see the results you expect?
- When will you fully recover and resume your usual activity?
- Are the results of the surgery permanent?
- What can you do to maintain the results of the surgery?
Start your search
You may or may not be ready to go ahead with weight loss surgery, but it’s never too soon to reach out to a clinic or hospital, or a doctor, to start a conversation. A major part of your research into the procedure you’re looking for should include direct communication, and a consultation, with an expert. Feel free to contact multiple care providers and experts. The more information you can gather about your procedure and surgeon the better decision you’re likely to make.