A guide to understanding weight loss surgery

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Have you been thinking about weight loss surgery for a while and want to know more about the process and procedures? We understand this can be a challenging road, with many different paths to choose from, and that reading about the options available can sometimes feel overwhelming. Our aim is to demystify weight loss surgery and empower you to make the right decision for you.

This blog post on weight loss surgery will give you an overview of the most common procedures available. It will help you get a clear understanding which option is best suited to support you so you can set your mind at ease.

What is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is measured by comparing your weight to your height. Calculate your own BMI on this handy BMI calculator.

This is not the only measurement that health care professionals look at, but it is the most important one. BMI has to be used with caution, as it does not relate to athletic people with more muscle and those who are pregnant. If you are unsure, our team of experts are happy to give you advice and guidance.

Why is BMI important?

BMI is important because it is used to measure your level of fat and whether surgery is an appropriate option to consider. BMI is broken down into segments:

18.5 or below – Under weight

18.5-24.9 – Healthy weight

25-29.9 – Over weight

30 – 34.9 – Obese

35-39.9 – Severely obese

40-44.9 – Morbidly obese

45 or above – Super obese

If you have a BMI of over 35 you can be assessed for bariatric surgery through an initial consultation. Surgery is also an option for those who have a BMI of over 30 with added health complications, such as early-onset type 2 Diabetes. Having a high BMI can be linked to serious health complications, such as heart disease, fatty liver disease and cancer. Preventing such illnesses may be helped considerably by weight loss surgery.

I have a high BMI, what can I do?

If you have reduced your calorie intake under the guidance of a healthcare professional with little success, there are a number of surgical procedures that can help. Gastric bypass, gastric band or gastric sleeve are procedures that can provide effective options to improve your overall weight and health.

What is a Gastric Band?

A gastric band is a keyhole surgery procedure which takes place under general anaesthetic and involves an overnight stay in hospital. A silicone ring (band) is placed around the opening of the stomach and attached to a port that sits under the skin. This helps the surgeon to change the tightness of the band by injecting saline into the port to make it right for you. The band restricts the amount of food you can eat by creating a feeling of fullness. This may be suitable for you if you have a BMI of 30 or over.

What is a Gastric Bypass?

A gastric bypass involves a small pouch being created at the top of the stomach, which is connected to your small intestine, thus bypassing the rest of the stomach and bowel. The smaller pouch restricts the amount of food you can eat, and is designed to make you feel full after smaller meals. A gastric bypass is a more intensive surgical weight loss procedure than gastric band, and is non-reversible. This may be suitable if you have a BMI of 40 or over.

There can be significant health benefits of having a gastric bypass. It has been shown to bring improvements to weight-related conditions such as sleep apnoea, asthma, joint pain, arthritis and fatigue. It can also help toward curing Type II Diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease.

What is a Gastric Sleeve?

The gastric sleeve is a permanent procedure where a vertical sleeve is created by stapling the stomach together to make it smaller. Up to 80% of the rest of the stomach is then removed. With a smaller stomach, patients find they feel full a lot quicker. This is also a keyhole surgical procedure and needs two days in hospital.

Gastric sleeve surgery can offer a good alternative to other weight loss procedures, as it requires no adjustments (unlike a band) and is not irreversible (unlike a bypass). As with a bypass, the gastric sleeve aims to reduce the Ghrelin hormone (hunger hormone) levels to help reduce your appetite. This may be suitable if you have a BMI of 35 or over.

Find out more

If you are considering weight loss surgery, your first step would be to meet with one of our weight loss advisors for a free consultation to discuss the procedures in more detail and build your own personalised weight loss plan to achieve your goals.