Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery


Our thanks also to those of you who have contacted us with details of how surgery has been for you. If you have had, or about to undergo surgery please contact us and we will follow your journey. To read some personal experiences of surgery click here

Surgery is a very serious step and one that may only be considered after other avenues have failed and always check with your doctor before approaching any surgeon or clinic

All surgical procedures both invasive and the more “cosmetic” carry risks and possible complications including the basic increased risks of being a very overweight person and undergoing an anesthetic.

The major stomach operations usually require you to have a BMI or 40 or more. They will be considered when other actions have not helped. There are several types of operation and you will be advised which is most suitable.

If you are facing surgery then make sure you are armed with as much information as you can get on the procedure, likely benefits, complications and risks. Don't forget to enquire about the possible need for further surgery.Our medical consulatant Dr Caroline Whymark shares her thoughts on the considerations of surgery & procedures

We also asked for some advice from bariatric surgeons, our thanks to Professor John Baxter on behalf of:

British Obesity Surgery Society (BOSS)

"This society includes most of the obesity surgeons in the UK who adhere to the principles of the society in providing a quality service for the benefit of their patients. Currently obesity surgery services are poorly provided in the UK due to pressures on the NHS but there is some evidence of a gradual increase in activity – albeit too slow in many areas. If you are seeking this form of treatment you should consider the following options:
• See your GP who may know of a local obesity surgery service – either NHS or private
• You may see an advertisement for an obesity surgery service which you could pursue but you also need to let your GP know that you are doing this – you should not have to go overseas for any private surgery since there are enough trained UK surgeons to do this for you

As to the type of surgery this is a complex matter which is best left to your obesity surgeon and yourself to discuss when you have a consultation. There are many different types of operation available and no one operation the best for all patients – we tend to try and match the actual type of surgical procedure according to patient characteristics such as actual weight, co-morbidities (e.g. diabetes), etc.

It is worth using the Internet to get some basic information about the details of the various surgical procedures. One factor which will strongly influence the likelihood of your surgeon doing an operation on you is a demonstration of some evidence that you have made an effort to find out about surgery and its complications. Our own society website is being revised at present but will soon go active and include links to many good websites."



Bariatric surgery can be viewed overall as two types:

Malabsorptive surgery: to reduce the amount of food which is absorbed through the intestines.

Restrictive surgery: to reduce the amount of food a person is able to take in at any one time, by decreasing the size of the stomach.

The words you may hear regarding surgery include:

Adjustable Gastric Banding

Known as the LapBand, a band will be placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a small stomach pouch which can only hold a small amount of food so you feel full quicker and for longer.

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

This procedure involves the use of both a band and staples to create a small stomach pouch.


The Roux-en-Y involves the creation of a small stomach pouch to restrict food intake and bypasses some of your intestines to reduce the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.

Biliopancreatic Diversion

This involves removal of portions of the stomach , leaving a larger pouch that Roux-en-Y but is very invasive

Duodenal Switch

The Duodenal Switch leaves a larger portion of the stomach intact and allows for more nutrients to be absorbed

These procedures can mean that you have to watch your diet subsequently to make sure you get enough nutrients and overindulgence can result in vomiting.

There are a number of sites which you will find that give drawings and more details of each procedure.

If you are looking on the web for information on surgical procedures, try also searching under “bariatric” surgery. You should always contact your own GP initially who should recommend a suitable consultant if appropriate. The operation can be performed on the NHS or privately but always seek professional advice and preferably recommendations.. Big Matters does not endorse any surgery or consultant


Surgical Links

These are some sites that you may find useful. As always, we do not endorse any particular site or surgeon, but hope these may help you find out more information as you work with your doctor/consultant.

British Obesity Surgery Patients Association Offers information on surgical procedures and post operative support.

Weight Loss Surgery Forum site offering the chance to exchange experiences of surgery.

PO BOX 1093
L69 8WD
Registered Charity No 1103151


Composed entirely of volunteers who have had or who are planning surgery this organisation provides high quality information and peer support to a socially disadvantaged and often isolated community of people. This surgery though growing increasingly is relatively new. WLSinfo have used new technology and the talent of its members to provide unique information and support.
WLSinfo acts as an umbrella organisation to 13 physical support groups across the UK. These groups are accessible to people of any surgery type pre or post op regardless of provider.

American Society for Bariatric Surgery Information on Surgery in common use in the USA












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All content within Big Matters website is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Big Matters Ltd is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition, your diet or before embarking on any exercise program or if you're in any way concerned about your health. Big Matters does not endorse any surgery or consultant. Under no circumstances shall Big Matters be liable for any loss, damage or harm caused by a User's reliance on information obtained through this site. It is the responsibility of a User to evaluate the information, opinion, advice or other Content available on Big Matters website.