Gastric Bypass Surgery Cost
The average cost of gastric bypass surgery through a private clinic in the UK can range from £7,995 up to £15,000. Prices will vary depending on your health and the clinic at which you have your surgery performed.
We do not advise that you opt for the cheapest gastric bypass surgery, as this can often lead to medical mistakes or unnecessary complications.
You can get gastric bypass surgery for free on the NHS, however there are strict eligibility guidelines meaning it is not available to everyone.
How Much Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Cost?
You should expect to pay between £7,995 and £15,000 for gastric bypass surgery at a private clinic, making it the most expensive gastric procedure available. This is because the gastric bypass procedure is much more complex than other types of weight loss surgery, which consequently drives up its cost.
The table below shows how much gastric bypass surgery costs compared to other types of gastric surgery:
|Procedure||Description||Price Range (GBP)|
|Gastric Bypass||A part of the stomach is sectioned and connected to the small intestine||£7,995-£15,000|
|Gastric Band||A band that divides the stomach and creates a smaller section||£4,995-£9,000|
|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||£8,000-£15,000|
The price of gastric bypass surgery varies depending on an individual's health and the clinic which performs the procedure. The actual price you will pay for the surgery is therefore determined on a case-by-case basis. Clinic Compare has put together a cost comparison table to show you how much you could expect to pay for gastric bypass surgery at some of the leading private weight loss clinics in the UK:
|The Hospital Group||£7,995|
|Spire St Anthony’s Hospital||£11,200|
|Ramsay Health Care UK||£8,995|
|The London Clinic||£10,510|
Financing Gastric Bypass Surgery
Because gastric bypass surgery is a significant one-off procedure, many clinics offer finance packages to enable you spread the cost of the surgery. Most offer finance deals of low cost monthly payments with a small upfront deposit. These are often 0% APR which means that you only pay back the cost of the surgery. Some clinics do charge interest on repayments however, but this is typically on longer payback periods meaning you will actually pay back more than the cost of the surgery.
The table below provides information on the different finance options from the UK’s leading weight loss clinics. Some have their own credit services, whilst others work alongside loans companies to get you the best finance deal:
|The Hospital Group||
|Spire St Anthony’s Hospital||
|Ramsay Health Care UK||
|The London Clinic||
Finance packages are not available to everyone: many clinics have a strict criteria for accepting gastric bypass surgery on finance. Some requirements include:
- Being in full time employment for at least 12 months
- Having a bank account from which you can set up direct debits
- Having a good credit score
Before committing to any financial agreement, you should ensure that you fully understand its terms and conditions as to avoid any surprises.
Can I Get Gastric Bypass Surgery On The NHS?
You don't have to fund the cost of gastric bypass surgery yourself through a private clinic. The procedure is available on the NHS, however there are strict eligibility guidelines that you must meet in order to qualify for free surgery. In general, in order to have gastric bypass surgery on the NHS you must:
- Have a BMI of at least 40.
- Have a BMI of at least 30 and suffer from a serious health condition that would significantly improve from weight loss surgery, such as type 2 diabetes.
Additional eligibility guidelines include:
- You must have tried all other non-surgical weight loss options, such as diet and exercise, over at least a 6 month period prior to surgery and been unsuccessful at losing weight.
- You must agree to commit to the long-term lifestyle alterations and health plan following the surgery.
- You must be able able to withstand the surgery and the general anesthesia.
If you feel you meet these requirements, you should make an appointment to discuss your options with your GP.
For a rough idea of whether you might be entitled to NHS funding for your surgery then you can consult the weight loss section of the NHS website.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Types
The aim of gastric bypass surgery is to make your stomach smaller. The surgery essentially shortcuts the normal procession of food from the stomach to the rest of your digestive system, reducing the space available for your to take in food, making you feel fuller quicker. It can usually be performed in a keyhole (laparoscopic) procedure unless the patient is severely obese, and typically results in greater, faster weight loss than other types of weight loss surgery.
There are three types of gastric bypass surgery available in the UK:
- Mini Gastric Bypass: Otherwise know as a Loop Gastric Bypass this was the first use of the procedure using a small loop of bowel for reconstruction. Despite this being a simpler procedure than the two others available it was abandoned as a technique for weight loss due to the risk of enzymes from the Pancreas and Bile entering the oesophagus from the bowel causing inflammation and ulceration in some cases.
- Roux-en-Y (RGB): The most commonly used technique in Gastric Bypass procedures in the UK the Roux-en-Y entails a small pouch is created in the stomach through banding or stapling limiting it's capacity dramatically. Next, a Y-shaped segment of the small intestine is attached to allow any ingested food to bypass the large part of the lower intestine (duodenum and jejunum).
- Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD): A far more complicated operation in which large parts of the stomach are removed and the final part of the smaller intestine is attached to the pouch of the stomach that remains. Essentially this means that the majority of the smaller intestine is bypassed resulting in less absorption of any food ingested.
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How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose?
On average, patients lose around 100 pounds of weight following surgery. Watch Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Cosmetic Surgery, outline how much weight gastric bypass patients can expect to lose as a result of their surgery:
"With a sleeve gastrectomy average weight loss is about 70% of a patient’s excess weight and that is a similar sort of figure for a gastric bypass, be it a mini gastric bypass or the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass."
Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Cosmetic Surgery
How Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Performed?
The operation will be carried out under a general anaesthetic, and can take between one and three hours to complete.
The surgeon will start by making a small incision into your abdomen to allow insertion of a small instrument called a laparoscope, which is essentially a camera and light attached to a long rigid tube that relays footage to a nearby screen. By inserting a laparoscope, the surgeon is able to perform the procedure through a small incision drastically reducing the risk involved.
Other small surgical instruments are then inserted through further small incisions in the patient's abdomen and a small pouch is created from your stomach, dramatically reducing its size.
This small pouch is then directly connected to the small intestine, effectively bypassing the rest of your stomach and allowing food to travel from the pouch through the new route to the small intestine. As the stomach is smaller, there is less capacity for food, and so patients eat less and therefore lose weight.
How Should I Prepare For Surgery?
In the lead up to your operation, your surgeon will provide you with some guidelines as to how to prepare. They will ask you to abstain from drinking alcohol and smoking, as these behaviors can greatly increases the risk of serious health conditions such as pulmonary embolisms and chest infections.
You will be put on a healthy eating and exercise plan, in order to ensure you are in the best health possible for your procedure. This will typically be a calorie-controlled diet that is low in fat, carbohydrates and refined sugars. A liquid diet will be introduced two weeks before the operation where both protein shakes and clear liquids are regularly consumed.
Around four protein shakes are taken daily, each containing at least 20 grammes of protein and less than 150 calories. The clear liquid is important for keeping the body hydrated and shrinking the liver as it sits just above the stomach and must be lifted during the surgery. Multivitamins are also required during this period and women need to take calcium supplements.
Six hours before the surgery, you will need to fast so that there is nothing in the stomach during the procedure. If you are at risk of blood clots, your surgeon may ask you to wear compression stockings and may prescribe a blood thinner in the run up to your gastric bypass.
Recovery From Gastric Bypass Surgery
It is common to feel tired and sore immediately following the surgery as the anaesthetic wears off. If you have undergone open surgery, you may have had a catheter fitted to pass urine into a bag, and you may also have tubes draining excess fluid from around the incision. You may also have a nasogastric tube, which is fitted into the nose and runs down to the stomach to ensure the stomach pouch remains empty. These will all normally be removed in the first couple of days following your surgery.
You may also have to wear special pumps to stimulate the blood flow in the legs to reduce the risk of clotting, in addition to compression stockings. In the days following your surgery, you may undergo an x-ray to ensure the sutures are healing and to check for any complications. Patients who don’t experience any abnormalities can return home two to five days after the surgery but will be unable to drive, so should arrange to be picked up when being discharged.
It is normal to experience pain, bruising and swelling around the surgical incisions, for which you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. You may also receive prescription painkillers if necessary. Patients recovering from a gastric bypass procedure should begin eating only liquids in the weeks immediately following the procedure. Puréed food can then be gradually introduced, and often your surgeon or dietitian may suggest taking vitamin and mineral supplements as well.
Once you are able to resume eating solids, you may feel sick when eating, but this will pass as you adjust to smaller portions. Once you are able, adding in exercise to your daily routine will assist with weight loss.
If the surgery went smoothly, you should be able to resume your everyday activities within two weeks, although you may still be in a small amount of pain. This includes bathing, gentle exercise and household tasks. It does not include vigorous exercise or heavy lifting.
It can take anywhere between four to six weeks to make a full recovery, but this will vary between individuals. It is therefore important to follow your surgeon’s instructions, and report anything that feels out of the ordinary as soon as possible to prevent complications and get the all clear.
What Are The Risks and Complications?
As with any surgery, gastric bypass procedures come with a number of potential complications, including immediate complications such as:
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thromboses)
- Blockages in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
Gastric bypass surgery also has a number of longer term risks, which may occur some time after surgery, including:
- Excess skin
- Food intolerance
- Blockage of the hole that connects the stomach pouch to the small intestine (stomal stenosis)
Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery are also at risk of experiencing what is known as dumping syndrome. Characterised by sickness, nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, the condition is brought on by a rapid change in the body’s sugar levels. Avoiding sugary foods and introducing high-fibre foods into your diet can lessen the chances of you experiencing dumping.
Weight loss surgery does not give immediate results and only works as part of a regime which you must follow strictly in order to lose weight. It should only be viewed as a last resort and should not be attempted before trying other methods of weight loss, such as changing diet and increasing exercise. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, you should consult your GP as soon as possible to discuss your options.
If you do not want to undergo gastric bypass, you could consider an alternative such as having a gastric band fitted, or a sleeve gastrectomy created.