How Much Does A Gastric Sleeve Cost?
If you are not eligible for a sleeve gastrectomy on the NHS, or if you choose to undergo the procedure privately you will have to pay for your surgery. Costs will vary depending on the clinic and package you choose, but the procedure typically costs £8,900-£15,000 in the UK.
|Procedure||Description||Price Range (GBP)|
|Gastric Sleeve||A portion of the stomach is removed, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten||£9,500-£15,000|
|Gastric Balloon||A soft silicone balloon which is surgically inserted into the stomach||£3,900-£6,000|
|Gastric Band||A band that divides the stomach and creates a smaller section||£5,390-£9,000|
|Gastric Bypass||A part of the stomach is sectioned and connected to the small intestine||£10,000-£15,000|
Most private clinics offer finance packages to help you pay for your procedure and many offer interest free credit deals. When researching costs it is important to find out what is included in the price in terms of aftercare and follow up appointments etc., as some clinics do charge extra for these additional services.
Can I Get A Gastric Sleeve On The NHS?
Gastric sleeve surgery (and other types of bariatric surgery) is not usually performed on the NHS. However in extreme cases, if the patient has not responded to diet, exercise and every other avenue has been explored then it may be possible to have a gastric sleeve operation free on the NHS. If the patient can prove that they have tried dieting and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40 as well as other obesity related conditions that stand a good chance of been remedied by surgery, then they have a chance of being referred.
Referral by your GP is the first step to getting gastric sleeve surgery through the NHS but they will only do this if you meet the given criteria. Those with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and other conditions also stand a good chance of been referred to the NHS for surgery.
Am I Eligible?
The first step towards finding out if you are eligible for a gastric sleeve on the NHS is to make an appointment to speak to your GP. In general, you should be eligible if you are defined as having a “life-threatening” level of obesity, which is:
- If you have a BMI of 40 or above.
- If you have a BMI of 35 or above coupled with a serious health condition that would improve on losing weight (e.g. hypertension or type II diabetes).
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Gastric Sleeve (Sleeve Gastrectomy) Finance Packages
Many clinics offer finance packages to allow you to spread the cost of your procedure, with most offering a 0% APR option which means that you pay back only the cost of the procedure. Some clinics do however charge interest in order for you to spread the cost; an example of the difference interest makes to your payment is shown below:
- £10,000 at 0% APR over 2 years = £416.67 per month - Total Repaid = £10,000
- £10,000 at 7% APR over 2 years = £475 per month - Total Repaid = £11,400
- £10,000 at 7% APR over 4 years = £266.67 per month - Total Repaid = £12,800
You should always discuss in detail the finance packages available from your clinic, the total amount repayable and what is included in the price, to make sure you are fully aware of all the cost implications. Some examples of finance packages that are available for sleeve gastrectomies include:
- The Hospital Group - The Hospital group offer sleeve gastrectomies starting from £9,950 available through a range of finance options.
- Harley Medical Street Bariatrics - Harley Medical Street Baritatrics offer sleeve gastrectomies starting from £13,000 with information of finance packages available on request.
- Surgicare Medical Group - The Surgicare Medical Group offer sleeve gastrectomies starting from £9,950 depending on the procedure for which payment plans are available.
Is A Lower Price Better?
As is the case with anything, a lower price does not always mean your clinic is offering a better deal. While costs can vary a little depending on the location of a clinic - for example, a surgery in a city centre may charge more than a smaller establishment elsewhere – you should be weary of anything that is dramatically less expensive than other clinics.
How Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery Performed?
Gastric sleeve surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, and takes roughly one to one and a half hours to complete.
The night before the surgery, you must fast to avoid potentially serious complications, so it’s vital to refrain from eating, drinking and even chewing gum to prevent your surgery being cancelled and rescheduled. During the operation, a large incision will be made, or your surgeon may make small incisions and insert a laparoscopic camera to see inside. They will then remove more than half the stomach, creating a banana-sized pouch or “sleeve” instead. This reduction in size means you feel full sooner and eat less, both of which help with weight loss. The surgeon will close the new sleeve with sutures before closing the incision.
With other types of bariatric surgery, the intestines may be shortened and rearranged, but this is not the case with gastric sleeve surgery. As a substantial part of the stomach has been removed, the procedure is permanent and cannot be reversed. Following the procedure, you may be in hospital for a couple of days before being discharged to recover at home. The surgery generally has fewer complications than other weight loss surgeries, and provides excellent results to patients battling with obesity.
Recovery & Risks
It is normal for patients to experience pain in the abdomen following surgery, and your doctor may provide prescription painkillers to help with this. The area around the incision may also feel sore and tender, and it is recommended to take things slow during the weeks following your surgery. You should be able to return to work and resume normal activities within four to six weeks of your operation. During this time, you may experience food passing through the sleeve into the small intestine too fast, which is known as dumping syndrome. You can experience diarrhoea, sickness and nausea, but increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and avoiding sugar can help to reduce this syndrome.
As gastric sleeve surgery is an invasive operation, there are the same risks you’d expect with any other weight loss surgery. These include infection, clotting, gallstones, and peritonitis, which occurs when there is a leak from the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity. Some patients may also struggle with obtaining the right minerals and vitamins from their food, which can lead to malnutrition and conditions such as anaemia. Adding supplements into your diet can help reduce this risk.