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.
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:
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.