With the growing problem of obesity in the UK, many Brits are turning to ever more drastic measures to try and get the weight off. The NHS reports that gastric bypass surgery has soared by 530% in just 6 years, costing the NHS £85 million per year, while many more procedures are completed privately.
Unfortunately, with the rise in the numbers of operations being carried out, so has there been a rise in the numbers of compensation claims being brought by clinical negligence solicitors on behalf of patients for whom the surgery hasn’t worked out as it should. BMI Healthcare report an increase in negligence claims of 20% year on year.
In some cases, the patients may have felt they were not fully aware of the consequences of their surgery and as a result are suffering now. With many different types of weight loss surgery available, it is important patients learn what the pros and cons of each are before committing to an operation.
Types of weight loss surgery
A gastric band is probably the least invasive of all types of weight loss surgery. It involves placing a band around the stomach to divide it into two sections, essentially making the patient feel fuller quicker and restricting the amount they can eat at one meal. Most patients can only manage half a cup of food before feeling full or sick and have to have their food softened or ensure it is very well chewed.
The band can be tightened or loosened to increase or decrease its effects and, if you decide you no longer want it at all, the process can be reversed by further surgery to remove the band. The downside is, if you do over eat, you are likely to be sick fairly frequently. Weight loss is slower and some patients put back on the weight after a few years.
This type of surgery involves removing around 75% of the stomach, leaving just a narrow tube or ‘sleeve’ connecting it to the intestines. This treatment is frequently recommended for morbidly obese patients who are not well enough to cope with a full gastric bypass.
The results are typically 50% or more in weight loss and, if further weight loss is required, additional gastric bypass surgery can be performed once the patient has lost the initial 50% of weight. Nutritional deficiencies are not an issue, because none of the intestines are affected. However, the procedure is irreversible.
3.Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)
This is the most common form of weight loss surgery currently administered and is suitable for very obese people who need to lose a lot of weight. The procedure involves segmenting the stomach and then connecting the upper part of the stomach to the lower part of the small intestine, essentially ‘bypassing’ the lower stomach and most of the small intestine.
The downside of this surgery is that food ‘dumping’ often occurs, where food enters the small intestines too quickly without being properly digested. This leads to cramps, bloating and pain. It is triggered by high fat, high carb or sugary foods, which is good in terms of a healthy diet, but does mean, since the process is irreversible, the patient has to watch what they eat for the rest of their lives.
This is essentially a more extreme version of the gastric bypass and involves removing a good deal of the stomach and bypassing even more of the small intestine. It is not a frequently performed surgery due to high risk of nutritional deficiencies and complications, but has shown to result in 80% weight loss long-term.
Although not a gastric surgery, liposuction is indeed a weight loss surgery of somewhat less drastic proportions. This cosmetic surgery removes unwanted fat by literally vacuuming the fat cells out of the body. It can result in significant weight loss and can reconstruct your body shape, but because you are likely to regrow the fat cells if you don’t eat well and exercise, it is not recommended by the NHS.