Frequently Asked Questions
Weight loss surgery is performed to control weight. There are two basic ways that weight loss surgery works to help patients lose weight and improve both physical and lifestyle conditions.
We know how hard the fight with obesity is; members of our team have had the surgery themselves and therefore our multidisciplinary team can talk from real life experience about weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery is the first part of a long process, and aftercare is the key to success. Support is ultimately the one part of the journey that truly does make a real difference. We invest heavily in resources for our post-operative care. Feel safe in the hands of our specialist multi-disciplinary team. We have put together the below common questions to help give you some answers and provide you with more information.
Am I eligible for surgery?
In the UK, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have published criteria for those considering weight loss surgery .National Institute for Clinical Excellence
In order to be eligible you must:
- Be over the age of 18
- Demonstrate that all appropriate and available non-surgical measures have been adequately tried but have failed to maintain weight loss
- Have a genuine desire to overcome your obesity problems and demonstrate full commitment to finally getting your weight under control
- Fully understand both the benefits and the risks of weight loss surgery
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 to 39 with other obesity related health problems
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above Calculate your body mass index (BMI) here
Which surgeons and hospitals do you use?
We use several surgeons and hospitals throughout the UK. Our surgeons have each performed many operations. We are pleased to be able to offer a choose and book service as we firmly believe every patient should get the surgery you need not the surgery that is available. We have worked with lots of patients over the years and know that some have had a weight loss procedure that was not necessarily right for them, however, it was the only procedure available from the provider at the time they had their surgery.
Will I have local or general anaesthetic?
All surgery is performed under general anaesthetic.
How long will the procedure take?
This depends on the procedure you choose to have. A gastric band procedure usually takes approx 45 minutes – 1 hour, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy take approx 2 hours.
How long will I be in hospital?
This depends on the procedure you choose to have. Gastric band patients will have a 1 night stay and gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients will have a 3 night stay.
How long shall I not drive for after the operation?
You should not drive for 2-3 days after surgery.
What scarring will I have?
Your procedure will normally be performed laparoscopically (keyhole surgery), generally five scars (approx 2-3cms in length) are made during surgery, two under the breastbone and three across the abdomen.
What risks are associated to Weight Loss Surgery?
It is important you understand the risks associated with weight loss surgery. Your surgeon will make sure you are fully informed and committed to make changes before you sign terms and conditions.
Obesity is a disease, being seriously overweight is a great risk to your health, surgery does carry risks, however, far outweighs the risk of you doing nothing.
Laparoscopic weight loss surgery carries some risks and complications but on the whole is regarded as a much safer procedure with a quicker recovery rate and reduced pain, infection risk and anaesthetic time than that of open surgery.
See weight loss procedures we offer for further information on the risks associated with each weight loss surgical procedure.
How long will I be off work?
This depends upon what you do for a living and the procedure you have chosen to have. Gastric band patients usually return to work within 1 week and gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients normally return to work within 2 weeks.
When will I be able to fly following my procedure?
You should be fit to fly short haul approximately 5 days following your procedure. For long haul flights, it is advised you wait 4-6 weeks following your procedure. The gastric band does not set off airport security systems.
What aftercare will I need?
We invest heavily in resources for our post operative care. Weight loss surgery is the first part of a long process, aftercare is the key to your success. Support is ultimately the one part of your journey that truly does make a real difference to your end goal. When creating our comprehensive aftercare programme we listened to patient feedback and were guided by patients who had been there. Our programme will ensure you learn about and have the chance to get used to the changes in lifestyle and eating habits you will need to make to get the most out of your surgery. We also provide a 24hr helpline seven days a week. Knowing there is help at hand 24-hours per day is very re-assuring. We even give you a medical identification card to keep with you at all times in the event of an emergency.
Will I ever be able to eat normal food again?
Following your surgery you will be asked to follow a post operative regime to allow the stomach to recover from surgery and to enable your body to adjust to a new digestive process.
Knowing what to eat is one thing…. Being able to do it can be a whole different ball game….. you will start to eat normal food again , albeit smaller portions. You will also need to make some changes to your eating habits.
We know how challenging this can be.
99.9% of the patients we see did not get to the weight they were before their operations because they were hungry!
We truly understand how and why some people ‘use’ food as a crutch and know that this has nothing to do with greed and gluttony.
Our Health educators and Dieticians actually do ‘get’ where you’re coming from and are passionate about supporting you through your journey, understanding your needs, and getting you through those days when you really feel you can’t cope on this roller coaster journey.
What if I get pregnant?
Great news – let us know and we can ensure your care pathway is changed to reflect your condition. We will monitor you very closely to ensure you and your baby are kept healthy.
Can I still take my medication?
We will talk to you more about the medication you are taking at your consultation as some tablets can be crushed down during the post operation regime. You may be asked to check with your GP
Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
Yes, depending on the procedure you choose to have depends on the supplements you will need to take . We will give you further information at your consultation.
Will I need to exercise?
Exercise does play a big part of your weight loss journey and you are encouraged to increase your physical activity both before and after your surgery – we are not advising you to go to the expense of a gym membership at this stage, increasing your daily steps by walking more will make a huge difference.
Can I drink alcohol?
Yes – in moderation.
Will I need Cosmetic Surgery after Weight Loss Surgery?
How much excess skin you have depends on you, your body and how much weight you lose. Every patient feels different about how they look when they get near to their goal weight. Please wait approx 2 years after surgery before making any decisions about cosmetic surgery.