We're a nation of overeaters. We've seen the headlines about the rise in obesity and weight problems among ever younger demographics, along with the plethora of health conditions that come with it.
So, it seems only natural that we start to think about all options for helping younger people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, including weight loss surgery. Could this be a viable solution to stop obese young adults from serious weight-related health issues in later life?
In this blog, we weigh up the pros and cons of having weight loss surgery as a younger person and whether it should be an option for them:
Firstly, what do we mean by "weight loss surgery"?
Weight loss surgery is a surgical procedure that helps to control your appetite and reduce your portion size, which should make sticking to a healthy eating plan easier.
Whilst there are various weight loss surgery options and these procedures will differ, ultimately, they are all designed to help you achieve your weight loss goals, an active lifestyle and in some cases reduce the risk of associated obesity health related problems.
What types of weight loss surgeries are there?
Here at The Hospital Group, we offer a variety of weight loss surgery options. Our gastric band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and conversion surgeries are all designed to help you lose weight and encourage a healthier lifestyle.
1. Gastric band
As the least invasive type of weight loss surgery we offer, a gastric band helps with weight loss by stimulating nerve endings at the top of your stomach, which reduces your appetite and allows you feel satisfied on smaller portions of food.
To ensure a gastric band assists your weight loss successfully, it will require adjustment to reach optimum efficiency. It's a keyhole procedure that is reversible, so the band can be removed, and is less invasive than a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass operation.
2. Gastric bypass
Gastric bypass surgery involves removing or stapling some of the stomach and re-routing the small intestine. This assists weight loss by restricting food intake, reducing hunger and the absorption of calories and nutrients. A general anaesthetic is required for gastric bypass and depending on your medical condition and individual needs, the surgery can take 2 to 3 hours.
3. Gastric sleeve
A sleeve gastrectomy involves permanently reducing the size and capacity of the stomach by about 75% and includes removing the upper part of the stomach where the chemical that stimulates appetite (ghrelin) is produced. This helps to reduce appetite and as well as your ability to eat large portions.
Our support doesn't end with the surgery itself, you will have a dedicated weight loss support team throughout your journey on hand to offer the very best guidance and support before, during, and long after your treatment.
Should young people have weight loss surgery?
The controversy surrounding young people making the decision to have weight loss surgery is often because it can seem like an extreme measure to take. Like all surgery, it comes with its own set of risks and possible complications and isn't a decision to be taken lightly.
Although a gastric band is reversible and can be removed at any point, if we consider other weight loss surgeries like the gastric sleeve where 75% of your stomach is taken away or a gastric bypass where your small intestine is re-routed, these are permanent and irreversible procedures.
Surgery is a huge decision for anyone to take, but perhaps especially for a young person when it could impact the rest of their life. That being said, obesity is unquestionably a disease and one which comes with several serious risks to our health which increase over time. As more and more of our young people are struggling with being overweight or obese, we should consider whether weight loss surgery might be the helping hand or tool that they need to avoid developing worsening health in their later years.
It is proven that weight loss surgery can lower your risk factors for many weight-related health issues including type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease and certain types of cancers. Achieving and maintaining a healthier weight and body mass index [BMI] can lower your blood sugar levels and improve your blood pressure and cholesterol In addition to these health benefits, our patients tell us about significant improvements to their physical appearance, confidence and sense of self.
Our gastric band patient Chloe, now 26, hit her weight loss goals in just 18 months following her procedure, aged 24 years old.
She has now lost over 12.5 stone and is proud to have reached her target weight through hard work and dedication. In her own words, she tells us,
'Since I was a young child, I have always struggled with my weight, I seemed to put a stone on for every year until I got to 25 stone. Making the life-changing decision to have gastric band surgery has allowed me to beat the bullies, become who I want to be and not hide away anymore.
My weight loss journey even gave me the confidence to come out as gay as this is something that I had kept hidden for years and I've never looked back since.
I have changed my lifestyle by becoming more active and being able to become more involved in the gym community felt like a dream. I feel like I have smashed my life goals by being able to enjoy going to theme parks, spa days, trampoline parks and even taking part in a 12-hour charity spin!
It's about the little things as well as the big things - being able to tie my own shoelaces and feel confident wearing a bikini for the first time felt amazing!'
Chloe before vs after weight loss surgery
Here at The Hospital Group, our minimum age requirements for weight loss surgery is 18 years old. Regardless of your age, if you come to see us for a consultation, we want to be confident that you have tried non-surgical methods of losing weight first through diet and exercise without success.
The weight loss journey doesn't end with the surgery itself and it isn't enough on its own.
We also need to be sure that you are committed to changing your diet, eating habits and have the motivation to get active, using your band, bypass or sleeve along with the continued support from our weight loss team as tools to help you achieve your weight loss targets.
Do you want to find out more about weight loss surgery?
We know that weight loss isn't easy, especially on your own. When you've tried following a balanced diet and exercising and it's just not enough, weight loss surgery could be the start of that new lease of a life you've been longing for.
Together we can achieve your goals of a healthy BMI, take the first step by getting in touch to see if weight loss surgery could be an option for you