It’s no secret that weight loss can be challenging. For some, dieting and exercise are not enough to achieve their desired results, so weight loss surgery can become an option worth considering.
With over 6,000 weight loss surgeries being performed in the UK each year, we look at the two most common types of weight loss procedures - gastric band and gastric sleeve - and look at the factors you will need to consider when deciding which surgery might be right for you.
Gastric band surgery may be suitable for you if your BMI (body mass index) score is 40 or more, or you have a BMI of 35, and other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
You also need to be medically fit enough to undergo a general anaesthetic.
Typically, you’ll also need to demonstrate that you have tried to lose weight in other ways, such as eating healthily and exercising, which hasn’t worked.
Improved health outcomes
Statistics show that those who undergo gastric band surgery can lose up to 50 per cent of excess body weight in two years, which can positively affect their overall health, including lowered risk of diabetes, blood pressure, and mortality.
It is reversible
f there are any issues, gastric bands can be adjusted or completely removed, giving you peace of mind that the procedure can be reversed if required.
Shorter recovery time
Typically, the recovery time for gastric band surgery is around two weeks. You will likely stay overnight in the hospital, followed by two weeks of a strict post-operative diet before being able to recommence with solid food.
Although weight loss is usually achieved in the long term, research shows that weight loss for those who undergo gastric band surgery is generally slower than for those with gastric sleeve surgery.
Following gastric band surgery, you are at increased risk of the band slipping or becoming infected. There is also an increased risk of developing acid reflux.
Follow up appointments
Over time, as your stomach shrinks, the band will become looser and will therefore need to be tightened. You will need to attend regular follow up appointments for the band to be adjusted and refilled with small amounts of saline.
Faster weight loss
Those who undergo gastric sleeve surgery tend to lose weight more quickly than those with gastric bands, typically losing between 60 and 70 per cent of their excess body weight within 12 to 18 months.
Better health outcomes
Both procedures can help improve conditions often linked to obesity, including type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnoea.
No adjustments required
Unlike gastric band surgery, a gastric sleeve does not require any follow-up procedures for adjustments to be made.
On average, gastric sleeve surgery is £2000 more expensive than gastric band surgery.
Longer recovery time
Typically, the recovery time for gastric sleeve surgery is longer than for a gastric band. Generally, you will stay in the hospital two to three days and follow a strict postoperative diet for up to six weeks before you can recommence solid food. You will also need someone around to help you with day-to-day activities in the early days to prevent straining your wound.
It is permanent
Gastric sleeve surgery is permanent, meaning that if there are any complications, you will not be able to reverse the procedure.
Lifelong vitamin supplements
There is a general requirement for those with gastric sleeve surgery to take vitamins for life, including quarterly B12 injections and regular blood tests.
The type of weight loss surgery that is right for you depends on various factors, including your weight, medical history, existing health conditions and your expectations of surgery.
At Ramsay Health Care, our weight loss specialists can provide the advice and support you need to help you decide which weight loss surgery is right for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to talk about your options or make an appointment.