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Obesity Surgery

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Obesity Surgery

Obesity is now considered to be a major problem in the western world and is considered to be a life threatening disease. The demand for obesity surgery in the UK and abroad has grown as a reflection of this. The UK has strict rules set in place regarding who can have obesity surgery, and if you are eligible for treatment there may be long waiting lists. For many people the cost of private treatment is prohibitive and many people will take out high interest loans in order to pay for this surgery. For these reasons many people have decided to travel abroad and seek private treatment at a lower cost than is available in the UK.

Countries where Obesity Surgery is Available

When considering which country to have your obesity surgery, you should factor flight costs into your total surgery package. If you choose a country in Europe, you will usually be able to take advantage of frequent, low cost flights and short flying times; this is important if any return visits are needed after the initial surgery.

Many countries now have their own obesity clinics and hospitals. Countries such as Spain, France, Holland and Belgium have their own specialised obesity clinics and have some of the most advanced treatments and specialised professionals working in the this field. These countries are only a few hours flying time from the UK and may be the wise choice when considering operation aftercare.

Suitability for Obesity Surgery

Scientists, and experts in the field of obesity state that the criteria used in the UK does not accurately reflect their own studies in this area, many of the highly regarded obesity clinics have their own set of criteria. The main classifications for suitability for surgery are straightforward:-
  • You have been classified as obese
  • Your obesity is causing you either physical or mental problems
  • You have tried, but failed to lose weight using traditional weight loss methods
If you have passed the criteria and have been assessed by professional obesity experts, or you doctor, and are seen as suitable for obesity surgery, there are a number of options available to you.

Obesity Surgery Treatments

There are a number of surgical options available to you. The treatments available abroad are similar to those available in Britain, but at a much lower cost. In recent years the advancements in obesity surgery have been great, and clinics abroad are at the cutting edge, using the latest keyhole surgery techniques. The two common types of obesity surgery are Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) and Gastric Bypass.

LAGB – Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band

An LAGB is a fully reversible, 100% restrictive surgery. Restrictive surgery means that the stomach will be made smaller in order to hold less food, the calorie intake will then be restricted and the weight loss will occur. There is no interference in the body’s absorption of nutrient or with digestion.

With LAGB, a stay overnight is required and the surgery itself will take around 45 minutes, with a recovery time of around two weeks. Expected weight loss will be around 50% to 60% of excess fat, and regular band adjustments are needed to achieve the weight loss.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is a restrictive and malapsorptive procedure. Malapsorptive means that food bypasses part of the intestine and there will be a loss in nutrients and calories, meaning that you will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life. Gastric bypass surgery is not easily reversible, and excess weight loss is around 60% to 70%. The surgery will usually require a three night hospital stay, with surgery itself taking around two hours. You can expect recovery time to be around six weeks to two months.

As with any type of surgery there are always risks involved. The risks involved in both LAGB and Gastric bypass are very rare but may include the following:-

  • Anaesthesia and medication problems
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Haemorrhage
  • Blood clots in the lungs
  • Infections
  • Ulcers
  • Death
In the hands of a qualified surgeon, with the best medical facilities these risks are almost non existent but cannot be ruled out. Always consult with your own doctor and your surgeon abroad who will advice you of all of the risks involved in this type of surgery.

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