Gastric Band Surgery Cost
The average cost of gastric band surgery in the UK is between £4,995 and £9,000.
If you are concerned about financing the cost of gastric band surgery, many clinics and private practitioners offer repayment plans over a pre-agreed term.
Gastric band surgery is available on the NHS, but there is a strict eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to qualify for free surgery.
How Much Does A Gastric Band Cost?
You should expect to pay anywhere from £4,995 up to £9,000 for a gastric band at a private clinic in the UK. These figures are only meant as a guide however, and the price of gastric band surgery will vary depending on your health status and the clinic at which you undergo the surgery.
The table below compares the cost of gastric band surgery against other types of gastric surgery:
|Procedure||Description||Price Range (GBP)|
|Gastric Band||A band that divides the stomach and creates a smaller section||£4,995-£9,000|
|Gastric Bypass||A part of the stomach is sectioned and connected to the small intestine||£7,995-£15,000|
|Gastric Balloon||A soft silicone balloon which is surgically inserted into the stomach||£3,950-£6,000|
|Gastric Sleeve||A portion of the stomach is removed, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten||£7,000-£15,000|
It is important to make sure you do thorough research when selecting your clinic and surgeon, as a lower price does not always mean better value. You should obtain several quotes prior to making a decision and should conduct a thorough comparison. Once you have narrowed down your search to a few clinics, you should then carry out in-depth research to ensure they are reputable and that the surgeon is fully qualified and experienced prior to making your final choice.
The table below shows how much you could expect to pay for gastric band surgery at some of the UK's top weight loss clinics:
|The Hospital Group||£4,995|
|Spire St Anthony’s Hospital||£6,200|
|Ramsay Health Care UK||£5,950|
|The London Clinic||£8,600|
Can I Get Gastric Band Surgery On Finance?
Because of the significant price of gastric band surgery, many private weight loss clinics work alongside loan companies or have their own credit services and finance packages available to help you spread the cost of the surgery.
As with all loans and credit, you will need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for a finance deal. This varies between companies, but typically you will need to be employed and bring along recent pay slips and bank statements to your consultation as proof of income, as well as a utility bill.
A credit check will also be carried out. A poor credit record can adversely affect your chances of getting the best financing deal, but you may still be eligible for credit and financing at a somewhat higher interest rate. Each clinic or third party finance company will differ, so shop around wisely to get the best deal you can. It's also advisable to speak with a financial adviser before taking out a loan or entering into any finance agreement.
There are many different types of financial repayment plans available, but the most common are:
- Pay before surgery: this involves paying a large deposit when you book your appointment, followed by monthly installments before the procedure takes place.
- Pay a deposit: this involves paying a deposit before your surgery, and then paying the remainder in monthly installments.
- Get finance to cover the whole procedure: no deposit is involved, and instead you pay monthly financial installments following your surgery. Some clinics offer a 0% finance option with a repayment period of between 6 to 12 months. If installments are to be paid over more than 12 months, then interest is usually charged.
The table below shows the finance options for gastric band surgery from the UK's top weight loss clinics:
|The Hospital Group||
|Spire St Anthony’s Hospital||
|Ramsay Health Care UK||
|The London Clinic||
Can I Get Gastric Band Surgery On The NHS?
The NHS will only offer gastric band surgery as a final option for weight loss, providing you meet certain criteria, and have tried every other means of losing weight and/or making different lifestyle choices without success, such as dieting and exercising. Requirements for gastric band surgery on the NHS include:
- Having a BMI of 35 or over with a life-threatening illness such as type II diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- Having a BMI of 40 or above, with a high chance that you will develop life-threatening illnesses if your weight issues are not addressed.
Even if you do fit the above criteria, it's preferable to try and lose some weight prior to being considered for surgery. And if you can show you have made a commitment to taking regular exercise, you will be in an even better position to take advantage of gastric band surgery on the NHS.
It is important to remember however, that this may be an unattractive option to many patients as waiting lists can stretch anywhere between two and three years for gastric band surgery on the NHS. Many individuals therefore choose to undergo the surgery at a private clinic.
Gastric Band Surgery Abroad
With the average cost of gastric band procedures in the UK so high, it is little surprise many people choose to travel abroad for the surgery. Countries such as Spain, Brussels, Mexico and India offer gastric bands at exceptionally low prices compared to the UK, with surgery costing as little as £3,400 in some countries.
It is important to consider what will happen if something was to go wrong with your surgery or recovery. If you have not taken out the correct medical insurance the cost could increase significantly as a result of follow-up treatments and/or additional medication. The trip could end up costing more than a procedure in the UK if you do not think about every possibility before you make the decision.
It is therefore advised that prospective medical tourism patients conduct thorough research beforehand on their clinic and surgeon. It is also advised patients find out what aftercare is included in the initial cost and whether their travel insurance policy will cover the cost of any complications that might be encountered whilst abroad.
We would also recommend considering the various other costs likely to arise when receiving treatment abroad such as flights, accommodation and transport, before making the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery in another country.
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How Is Gastric Band Surgery Performed?
A gastric band works by restricting or limiting the amount of food that can enter the stomach. When the band is in place, food can only enter the small pouch to the top of the stomach which the band creates. The larger part of the stomach remains unused, just below the band. Very small amounts of food entering the small pouch are enough to trigger the feeling of being full, and the brain is therefore tricked into believing enough food has been consumed, leading to weight loss. Once the food in the small pouch of the stomach has been digested, it moves through the digestive system as normal.
A gastric band can be fitted through laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, meaning there is no need for one large incision. Instead, the surgeon will normally make four to five small incisions, one of which will be used to insert the laparoscope so that the surgeon can see inside. Through the others, the surgeon will insert the band around the upper part of the stomach. A fine piece of tubing is then connected under the skin to the access port, so that saline fluid can be inserted to adjust the size of the opening to the stomach.
The band is then secured in place, and the incisions are sutured shut with dissolvable stitches. It may be the case that the band needs readjusting in the weeks following the surgery, which can be easily done as an outpatient procedure. The procedure is carried out under a general anesthetic, and takes about one hour to complete.
How To Prepare For Surgery
Before surgery can take place, you will need to be assessed. A group of people known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) usually consisting of a surgeon, anaesthetist, dietitian, psychologist, gastroenterologist and a specialist weight loss nurse who work together to assess your suitability for the procedure.
The assessment often consists of three stages:
- Physical assessment: to check if any other health problems could hinder surgery; patients may receive blood tests, an ECG, chest x-ray and ultrasound.
- Psychological assessment: to see how obesity is affecting the day-to-day living of the patient and if there are mental or emotional health issues which could cause problems after surgery.
- Nutritional assessment: to obtain contributing factors to the patient's obesity and find patterns in their current diet to aid aftercare.
Should you be deemed appropriate for the surgery, you will be provided with an eating plan that is designed to help you lose weight ahead of the procedure. The more weight that is lost beforehand, the lower the chances of complications during the operation. A low-fat, low-carb diet can also help to reduce the size of the liver, making it easier for the surgeon to correctly fit the band.
Your surgeon will also advise that you abstain from smoking leading up to your surgery, since smoking can increase the risk of clotting and infection, and can also prolong the time it takes for you to recover from the operation.
As anaesthesia can cause sickness and vomiting, it is vital to fast six hours ahead of the procedure. This is to ensure the stomach is empty as the band is fitted, and if you fail to fast, your surgeon may reschedule your procedure. You may be asked to wear compression stockings for your surgery, as these can stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of clotting.
For more information about how to prepare for surgery, the General Medical Council (GMC) have put together a guide offering useful advice about factors you should consider before undergoing gastric band surgery.
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Recovering From Gastric Band Surgery
Once you awake from surgery, you may find that you are receiving fluids through a drip. You will be able to have water as you need it, along with pain relief as required.
Once you feel able, you will be encouraged to get up and start moving around as this can increase blood flow and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVP), which occurs when blood clots in the legs. Some patients may feel well enough to return home that day, but most are discharged within 24 hours of undergoing the procedure. This is at the discretion of the surgeon however, and so you may have to stay in for a couple of days longer if deemed necessary.
It is likely that you will experience some swelling, bruising, pain and tenderness once the gastric band has been fitted, and you may feel sick as you eat. Once your body adjusts to the new portion sizes, however, this should dissipate in time.
Your stitches should dissolve within seven to 10 days of your procedure, and you will be encouraged to keep moving and stay active during your recovery. Most patients will have made a full recovery and feel able to resume normal activities within one to two weeks of the procedure, but this can vary between individuals. If you are experiencing any pain, you may be offered over-the-counter painkillers or prescription pain medication to assist with this.
You may need to start with liquid and pureed foods before moving onto solids. During this time, you may also take mineral and vitamin supplements. You should also start to introduce gentle exercise as you feel able, as this will help with your weight loss.
You will need to return to the hospital six weeks after the procedure to have the fluid inserted into the band (through the access port) and to check it is in the right position. By this time, you should be fully recovered from your initial surgery.
Here, Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Cosmetic Surgery, outlines the aftercare that gastric band patients can expect to receive:
"With gastric banding the important thing is the follow up and the support which is why we offer psychology, dietetics, personal trainer, and then limitless number of adjustments. The first adjustment we tend to do by x-ray to try and get people into what’s called the green zone, it’s the optimal level of restriction."
Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Cosmetic Surgery
What Are The Risks?
The risk factors you have when undergoing surgery, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, will determine how safe surgery is. Immediate risks and complications of gastric bypass surgery include:
- Internal bleeding.
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thromboses).
- Blockages in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
There are also a number of risks that can occur in the long term following your gastric bypass surgery, including:
- Excess skin.
- The gastric band slipping out of place, which may cause symptoms such as nausea, acid reflux and vomiting.
- Food intolerance.
Alongside the risks of infection and clotting that normally accompany any kind of surgery, there are some risks of complications that can arise specifically as a result of having a gastric band.
The tissue around the band or the tube under your skin may become infected, for example. It is also possible that other organs in your abdomen area can be impacted or damaged during the operation, such as the spleen. This risk is heightened during keyhole surgery. It could be the case that when performing a keyhole procedure, the surgeon discovers abnormalities or obstacles, and has to resort to open surgery. This can result in a longer recovery time.
The band itself may also slip out of place, which can be corrected with surgery. It could also leak or deflate, or even make its way through to stomach wall, all of which will require corrective surgery to be put right.