Weight Loss Surgery

An increasing number of people are turning to weight loss surgery (also called “bariatric” surgery). As these procedures come with risks, potential complications and drastic lifestyle changes, it is recommended that you attempt to lose weight more naturally first, by increasing your level of exercise and maintaining a healthy calorie-controlled diet.

Is Weight Loss Surgery Right For Me?

Weight Loss Surgeon Chris Sutton explains when gastric band surgery might be considered.

However, if weight loss surgery is the most clinically relevant option for you, there are a range of procedures available, which are described in detail in the pages listed below. Procedures available include:

Calculating your body mass index (BMI) is one way in which you or your doctors can determine whether your weight is healthy for your height. There are many online BMI calculation tools, but to work it out for yourself, simply:

  • Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m).
  • Divide your answer by your height again to get your BMI.

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of at least 30 and morbid obesity as 40 or above. Being in these ranges is a ticking time bomb in terms of health, increasing the risk of numerous damaging health problems including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (which is the number one killer worldwide).

Am I Eligible for Weight Loss Surgery?

There are specific eligibility criteria to determine whether a patient can receive one of these bariatric surgeries through the NHS, namely you have to have a BMI of at least 40, or a BMI of at least 35 along with with another serious health condition that would benefit from weight loss, such as joint issues, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. Privately, many practices have their own eligibility criteria which will vary between clinics.

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How Much Is Weight Loss Surgery?

The cost of weight loss surgery will depend on a number of factors including the type of surgery recommended, your starting Body Mass Index, the surgeon performing the procedure and the clinic in which they practice. We've collected prices quoted from the UK's top weight loss clinics to help you decide which procedure might be right for you:

Procedure Price Range (GBP)
Gastric Band £5,390-£9,000
Gastric Bypass £10,000-£15,000
Gastric Balloon £3,900-£6,000
Gastric Sleeve £9,500-£15,000

Risks Of Surgery

As with all surgeries, these procedures come with a number of risks, ranging from the minor to the potentially very serious, most of which are also increased in those with a very high BMI such as 50 or above. Risks from weight-loss surgery include:

  • Blood clots in the limbs (deep vein thromboses).
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Blockage of the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

The level of risk mostly depends on the procedure being done, and other risk factors such as high blood pressure or excess body weight, as mentioned above.

Life After Weight Loss Surgery

In addition to the risks from surgery, bariatric procedures often mean living with dramatic lifestyle changes. Immediately following most weight loss surgeries it is likely that you’ll have to stick to a liquid-only diet for a few weeks, gradually increasing your food intake. More lasting alterations include maintaining a low calorie, low fat and low sugar diet and possible body changes such as suffering from excess skin following rapid weight loss.

Weight Loss Insurance

Weight loss insurance is becoming more and more important for those starting to suffer from weight related illness or obesity. More insurance companies are beginning to consider the long term health benefits of bariatric surgery. A recent study found that there were significant decreases in the number of weight related sickness claims following bariatric surgery. Diabetes diagnosis dropped by 20% and sleep apnoea also dropped by 33% following bariatric surgery just 6 months after the procedure.

To understand the finer details of weight loss surgery insurance and how to find the best policy, it is advisable to use the free resources provided on this website to assist you in your search. You may feel like you are asking a lot from a medical insurance policy to cover you for being overweight but obesity often has underlying medical or psychological complications beyond your control that may have contributed to the obesity problem.

Weight loss clinics are a good place to start enquiring about how to find health insurance that will cover the types of surgery and they may be able to give you more ideas.

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