If you’ve tried everything to lose weight then it might be worth exploring the many different bariatric (weight loss) surgery options.
Your consultation with your surgeon will determine which bariatric op is best for you and whether it will give you the results you are expecting. Also a full medical history will be taken to check whether you’re physically able to undergo the procedure.
Bariatric surgery (gastric balloon):
This works by making you feel full and if you have a BMI of 30 or more then this could be the option for you. If you are embarking on this option then it is crucial that you are also offered a comprehensive bariatric surgery programme and the help and support you need to make the necessary changes or this bariatric procedure can fail. A gastric balloon is a soft silicone balloon that is inserted into your stomach and then filled with sterile saline. It will be removed after six months when you should hopefully have committed to a sustainable diet.
You should be able to go home the same day of the bariatric operation although it will take some time to get used to the feeling of the balloon in your stomach and to learn what you will and won’t be able to eat.
Bariatric surgery (Gastric band)
Also known as lap banding, this is a highly effective bariatric procedure as the size of the stomach is restricted. Suitable for patients with a BMI of over 40 or 35 with accompanying medical conditions – if you are very obese then you may need to lose weight so you are fit to undergo the bariatric surgery.
An inflatable band is placed around the stomach to divide it into two parts, so the patient is only able to take in a small amount of food before feeling full. The food then passes very slowly through into the lower part of the stomach and then through the rest of your system as normal.
The gastric band can be adjusted if necessary by inflating the band with saline solution – this reduces the size of the opening into the lower part of the stomach, making you feel fuller for longer.
The band is inserted into the abdomen using keyhole surgery and any further adjustments are made by injecting the solution through a small tube.
The bariatric procedure is reversible. You should be able to go home one or two days after the operation and it can take a few weeks to recover. You should be offered regular appointments to ensure that the band is adjusted if necessary. The clinic or hospital that is offering the procedure should also offer support as that is necessary for the success of the procedure.
On average, patients lose around half of their excess weight within two years of surgery.
Bariatric surgery (gastric bypass)
This procedure restricts the amount of food you can eat and also the amount of calories that is absorbed. It is suitable for very overweight people and can be an effective long-term solution, but it is also a major surgical procedure that carries greater risks than the other options. It’s also not easily reversible.
A stapler is used to divide the stomach into two parts and as with gastric banding, you only have a small pouch at the top of the stomach which means you feel fuller much more quickly. Unlike gastric banding, though, the food doesn’t then pass into the rest of the stomach. The food bypasses the stomach and much of the intestine by passing through a small section of intestine that has been rerouted.
Again this is a keyhole surgical procedure, but it can also be carried out as an open operation with one long cut in the abdomen. You should be able to go home a few days after surgery and it can take up to six weeks to recover from the operation and you will need to take nutritional supplements permanently.
Patients can lose around 70 per cent of the excess weight within two years on average.
Bariatric surgery (gastric sleeve)
This is a much more invasive bariatric procedure that permanently removes part of the stomach, reducing its size by about 75 per cent. This is a non-reversible procedure.
Bariatric surgery: How much will it cost?
A gastric band can cost from £5,000 to £10,000 and a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery can cost up to £15,000.