Healthy living * Weight loss

Ten-fold rise in NHS obesity ops

Ten-fold rise in weight-loss ops Gastric band surgery most popular

The number of weight loss operations carried out by the NHS has increased ten-fold in less than ten years, a new study shows.

One reason for the rapid rise in operations such as gastric banding and bypass surgery is due to increased demand from obese patients as they become more aware of surgery as an option.

The number of weight loss surgical procedures increased from 238 in 2000 to 2,543 in 2007.

A total of 6,953 operations were performed on the NHS between April 2000 and March 2008, scientists from Imperial College, London, report in today's British Medical Journal. Gastric band surgery accounted for more than half of all the operations which were carried out.

Weight loss or bariatric surgery is performed on people who are morbidly obese, with a BMI greater then 40. It is usually carried out after other attempts at weight loss have failed, and the person has other obesity related health conditions.

Gastric band surgery reduces the size of the stomach with a surgical band while a gastric bypass re-routes the small intestines to a small stomach pouch.

Another surgical procedure known as a sleeve gastrectomy removes a portion of the stomach.

"Very extreme obesity is associated with all sorts of other illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease," study co-author Dr Paul Aylin told the BBC Today programme.

"Evidence is emerging now that these sorts of operations can reduce those other illnesses."

Latest figures show that 4,246 weight loss operations were carried out in 2008-09 alone, according to the NHS Information Centre.

Of these, 2,210 were for a gastric bypass, 1,378 involved fitting a gastric band and 42 involved removing a part of the stomach.

This article was published on Fri 27 August 2010

Image © Luis Louro -

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