Benenden Hospital Trust answer your questions about weight loss surgery.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery, otherwise known as weight loss surgery, encompasses a range of procedures such as balloon, band and sleeve that are designed to help obese individuals lose weight effectively in the long term.
Who is eligible for bariatric surgery?
Anyone with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35 and above. However, for certain procedures such as band and balloon, the BMI threshold is lower at 30, for those who have or are at risk of obesity-related health conditions.
What are the common types of bariatric surgery?
In the mainstream, there are four procedures, namely: gastric balloon (space-occupying), gastric band (hour-glass restriction), gastric sleeve (80 percent reduction in volume) and gastric bypass (combination of restriction and malabsorption).
How should the type of surgery be decided upon?
Very carefully in consultation with your consultant and after numerous factors such as BMI, eating behaviours and medical history are taken in consideration. We also encourage all patients considering weight loss surgery to undertake support from our psychology and dietician teams.
How much weight can a person expect to lose after undergoing bariatric surgery?
Depending on the power of the procedure (sleeve being more powerful than balloon for example) ranges of 30-80 percent of the excess weight is lost.
What can a patient expect to experience after surgery?
Some mild discomfort where the incisions have been made and shoulder tip ache due to the abdominal residual gas. However, most patients are drinking within a few hours after surgery and are fully mobile and independent the next day.
What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?
Numerous and grouped into:
a) Health (remission or cure of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnoea to name a few)
b) Psychological (increased confidence, self-esteem)
c) Social (better job opportunities, new relationships, social acceptance)
How safe is bariatric surgery?
At the moment, the risk profile is as safe or safer than having a keyhole gall bladder procedure. Every operation has its risks but over the years the complication rate for bariatric surgery has been driven down. However, every individual needs to discuss their own risks with a surgeon.
Is bariatric surgery a cure for obesity?
No, nothing is yet proven to be long-term cure for obesity as there is always a small proportion that may experience weight regain. However, it is currently the most effective long-term solution for obesity that is available.
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