Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery - also known as bariatric surgery - can help
many people but it is not recommended for every one. It is a
lifelong - and often life-changing - decision and is not designed
for people who are just a few pounds overweight or who want to look
better for their summer holiday! Before surgery is even considered,
your GP may recommend you try to adjust your diet and exercise and
possibly try a drug which can help with weight loss.
Weight loss surgery helps you to lose weight by
either cutting your intake of food or preventing some of what you
eat being absorbed. It is normally used in patients who are
significantly overweight and who have tried other methods to lose
weight without enough success. An alternative, non -surgical,
method is to insert a balloon in your stomach for a period of time,
to help you start to lose weight.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has produced
guidelines on who should be considered for
- A body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or over. BMI is calculated
by looking at your weight and height - 25+ is regarded as
overweight and 30+ as being obese
- A BMI of 35 kg/m2 or over with significant diseases such as
type II diabetes or high blood pressure which could be improved by
- In addition, all appropriate non-surgical measures must have
failed to achieve or maintain adequate clinically beneficial weight
loss for at least six months. Patients must also receive intensive
specialist weight management, be fit for anaesthesia and surgery,
and commit to the need for long-term follow up.
- Many surgeons are reluctant to operate on young people but NICE
recommends it is considered in exceptional circumstances where they
have achieved or are close to physiological maturity and meet the
same requirements as adults (see above).
In some cases, people who do not meet the requirements used by
NICE may be considered for surgery. There is some evidence that
weight loss procedures will help people with BMI of between 30 and
35kg/m2, for example. Surgeons will want to make certain that
prospective patients are able to give their informed consent to the
Next - Information on weight loss procedures.