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Weight Loss Surgery

Also known as bariatric surgery - can help many people but it is not recommended for every one. It is a lifelong - and often life-changing - decision and is not designed for people who are just a few pounds overweight or who want to look better for their summer holiday! Before surgery is even considered, your GP may recommend you try to adjust your diet and exercise and possibly try a drug which can help with weight loss.

Weight loss surgery helps you to lose weight by either cutting your intake of food or preventing some of what you eat being absorbed. It is normally used in patients who are significantly overweight and who have tried other methods to lose weight without enough success. An alternative, non -surgical, method is to insert a balloon in your stomach for a period of time, to help you start to lose weight.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has produced guidelines on who should be considered for bariatric surgery.

NICE recommendations

•A body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or over. BMI is calculated by looking at your weight and height - 25+ is regarded as overweight and 30+ as being obese
•A BMI of 35 kg/m2 or over with significant diseases such as type II diabetes or high blood pressure which could be improved by weight loss
•In addition, all appropriate non-surgical measures must have failed to achieve or maintain adequate clinically beneficial weight loss for at least six months. Patients must also receive intensive specialist weight management, be fit for anaesthesia and surgery, and commit to the need for long-term follow up.

In some cases, people who do not meet the requirements used by NICE may be considered for surgery. There is some evidence that weight loss procedures will help people with BMI of between 30 and 35kg/m2, for example. Surgeons will want to make certain that prospective patients are able to give their informed consent to the procedure.

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