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Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery is the generic term for three different types of surgery which are performed for the treatment of morbid obesity.

The operations performed most commonly are:

  • the laparoscopic gastric band
  • the open and laparoscopic 'roux en y' gastric bypass
  • the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

Each operation has advantages and disadvantages. The medical team will identify which one will be most appropriate for each patient.

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Laparoscopic gastric band

The gastric band is a 'restrictive' procedure. This means that it restricts the amount of food that the patient can eat. It reduces feelings of hunger by pressing on the surface of the stomach and can be adjusted by adding or removing fluid.

This procedure is relatively safe and the recovery time is short. The patient is admitted to the hospital on the morning of surgery and stays overnight. The band can be removed with a second keyhole operation if necessary, and the weight loss it supports can be considerable.

A commitment to follow-up care is essential, and for the best results patients must commit to a permanent healthy diet and lifestyle. If they work hard they can expect to lose around 50 percent of excess body weight.

Gastric bypass

The gastric bypass is the most common weight loss operation worldwide. It is usually performed by keyhole surgery, and the patient will need to stay in hospital for five days.

This operation helps weight loss in three ways:

  • it restricts the amount of food patients can eat by reducing the size of the stomach
  • it bypasses part of the stomach and intestine, reducing the amount of food the body is able to absorb
  • it reduces the appetite, especially for sweet foods.

It is particularly suitable for patients with type 2 diabetes.

A gastric bypass will not require adjustment, but patients need to commit to regular monitoring, lifelong six-monthly blood tests and daily multivitamin and mineral tablets. Patients can lose up to 70 percent of excess body weight with this procedure.

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy

This is a restrictive procedure similar to the gastric band. It can be performed as a definitive operation or before a gastric band if expected weight loss is not achieved. The sleeve gastrectomy reduces the size of the stomach by 75 percent and is not reversible.

Following the procedure the remaining part of the stomach will have the shape of a banana. This means that, although smaller, the stomach function remains unaltered and the food will follow its natural pathway.

Patients should expect to lose 40-60 percent of excess body weight following a sleeve gastrectomy, and a similar improvement in diabetes to the gastric band. The results of this operation in the long term (over five years) are not yet well known.

Who is suitable for bariatric surgery?

Our specialist consultants follow the guidance for surgery issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

NICE state that people with morbid obesity should have surgery to aid weight loss only after they have had a full assessment by the specialist and other healthcare professionals involved in their care. In addition, counselling and support should be arranged for people before and after the surgery.

Other treatments for weight loss

Currently other treatments for obesity include advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, drug therapy, referral to specialist weight loss clinics, low and very low calorie diets and therapy designed to modify behaviour.

Benefits and risks

The benefits

The benefits of weight loss surgery are:

  • increased life-expectancy and improved quality of life
  • a significant improvement in type 2 diabetes
  • a significant improvement in blood pressure control, if not a return to normal blood pressure
  • a rapid return to normal blood cholesterol levels in more than 70 percent of patients
  • elimination of sleep apnoea in a significant number of patients.

The risks

The risks of weight loss surgery are similar to the risks of any surgery for patients with complex health problems. These problems would be discussed with patients prior to any decision about surgery being made.

Bariatric surgery can cause side effects both at the time of the operation and in the long term.

These can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • heartburn
  • vitamin deficiency
  • infections in the wound
  • the band or staples breaking or bursting
  • ulcers forming around the band or staples.

After the operation, care is available to deal with any side effects or complications: patients will receive advice to help change their eating habits to prevent complications.

Specialists at Oxford University Hospitals

  • Mr Nick Maynard
  • Mr Bob Marshall
  • Mr Bruno Sgromo

If you want to know more about weight loss surgery please visit:

Contact us

To arrange an interview please contact:

Vicki Baxter or Peter Bredenkamp

  • Tel: 01625 506444

For further information please contact:

Oxfordshire Banding and Bypass Organisation (OBBO)

OBBO is a small, friendly group based in Oxford who have all had, or are planning to have, weight-loss surgery. The group is open to both NHS and Private patients, and also to those having surgery elsewhere in the UK.