Your Questions Answered

Shown below are a few of the most common questions our consultants are frequently asked – please take a few moments to read them over.

If you have any further queries feel free to call us on 0141 328 3236 and a member of our team will be delighted to help.

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Frequently asked questions

How Will My Life Change after Surgery?

Lifetime follow-up is recommended, with at least three follow-up visits during the first year. Adjustable gastric banding requires more frequent visits for band adjustments. You will need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including a new nutrition plan and regular exercise, although exercise restrictions may be in place until you are healed. Because of the decrease in food intake, constipation may occur. A laxative may be recommended. You may want to consider or may require reconstructive operations after your weight stabilizes.

Medications can be prescribed as needed. However, your doctor may tell you to avoid aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can irritate the stomach.

How Will My Diet Change?

Immediately following adjustable gastric banding, only sips of water are allowed. Over the next two weeks, the consumption amount is increased gradually with fluids in the form of water and liquids, such as clear broth, skimmed milk, low-calorie juice and sugar-free ice lollies. You will need to watch how many calories you eat and limit your liquid intake to avoid nausea and vomiting. Low-fat pureed foods, protein-rich chicken and fish, mashed potatoes and peas are started three to four weeks after the operation.

Patients who undergo more invasive procedures follow a similar dietary progression for 12 weeks and then they are allowed regular, healthy foods.

Once healed, care must be taken to let your stomach adapt to its new environment. Vitamin supplements may be necessary

How Long Will It Take for Me to Recover?

That depends on the procedure. Patients, who undergo laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy surgery tend to stay in the hospital for typically one night.

Recovery times differ too. In one study, patients returned to normal activity in about one week after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and between two to three weeks after a sleeve gastrectomy.

What is involved in preparing for the Surgery?

First, a rigorous medical and psychological screening process, performed by a team of healthcare professionals, will determine if you are a candidate. This process helps to identify the aspects of your health that will improve following treatment, as well as the aspects that may increase the risks associated with surgery.

You will also want to come to a complete understanding of the significant, lifelong, lifestyle changes you must commit to, including diet, exercise, limiting alcoholic intake and smoking cessation, if necessary.

What Should I Ask about My Consultant’s Qualifications?

Find out how many years of experience they have in the field, the number of operations they have performed and how many times they have performed a specific procedure. The consultant you choose should be experienced with the procedure you are considering. You should ensure they are certified, and if they are qualified to FRCS level and have held a substantive post within the NHS.

Discuss their commitment to follow-up, because weight-loss surgery often involves lifetime follow-up. The consultant should be working with all the aspects of management and assessment in a clinical, multidisciplinary setting. Key to the consultant being able to fulfil their commitments is that they are locally based with an established weight loss practice and are routinely available to the patient.

Will Weight-Loss Surgery Improve My Health?

Weight-loss surgery can eliminate or improve most obesity-related medical complications, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, reflux and osteoarthritis, as well as stress incontinence, dermatitis, muscle and joint pain. Improvements in body image and a reduction in the symptoms of depression have also been reported. Weight loss may also be associated with improved fertility and more favourable pregnancy outcomes.

How Much Do the Procedures Cost? Will Insurance Cover It?

Weight-loss procedures cost up to £10,000. Medical insurance will not normally cover these types of procedures; you may wish to check with your insurance provider before embarking on a weight-loss program.

How Do I Know Which Surgery Is Right for Me?

Your medical history and weight are used to determine which surgery is the best option. It is also important to talk with your consultant to decide which option is right for you.

What Are the Risks or Complications Associated with Surgery?

The most common complication associated with adjustable gastric banding is the enlargement of the stomach pouch, which can occur if the stomach slips up through the band. However, modifications to the technique have been made to prevent this from occurring. There have also been cases where the band erodes into the stomach.

In the case of a sleeve gastrectomy, as this is a significant surgical procedure, there are all the normal risks associated with abdominal surgery such as bleeding, pain, and blood clots. In a very few cases there may be some leakage from the stomach through the staple line where the stomach has been divided, however in most cases this can be detected quickly and repaired laparoscopically.

How Much Weight can I Expect to Lose?

That depends on the procedure and the individual. With the adjustable gastric banding procedure, weight loss progresses steadily over a 2 to 3 year period and then stabilises. The final result is usually between 50 percent and 60 percent of the excess weight. After four years, studies show the level of weight loss is equal to that achieved by gastric bypass surgery.

After interventional gastric surgery, such as a sleeve gastrectomy, weight loss can exceed 40 kilos or up to 70 percent of the excess body weight, but it generally levels off in one to two years. A regain of up to 10 percent of your excess body weight is common.

Ultimately, your target weight should be determined with your consultant and should be the recommended weight based on the patient’s height.

What are my options for weight-loss surgery?

The two most common operations are adjustable gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. With both procedures, the size of the area in stomach where food collects is reduced. The adjustable gastric band is less invasive than sleeve gastrectomy although both are done laparoscopically. The band is adjustable; the sleeve is not, also the band is reversible; the sleeve gastrectomy is not.

Details of all available procedures are discussed in the What we do section.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for weight-loss surgery?

Candidates normally fall into the clinical classification of “obese”. That typically translates to a body mass index of 40 or over. You should have previously attempted to lose weight through traditional methods, including dieting, nutritional counselling and commercial or NHS run weight-loss programs. Candidates may have a body mass index of 35 or over if they have medical problems that are associated with obesity, such as hypertension and diabetes.

People with an inflammatory disease, severe heart or lung disease, oesophageal, stomach or intestinal problems, cirrhosis or who are pregnant are not candidates.

What is weight-loss surgery?

Weight-loss surgery alters the body’s digestive process by limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold and/or by limiting the absorption of nutrients. The most common procedures are restrictive, malabsorptive or a combination of both procedures. Restrictive procedures reduce the amount of food the stomach can hold, but don’t interfere with the body’s normal digestion of food and nutrients. Malabsorptive procedures bypass most of the small intestine so that fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed. Combined procedures restrict food intake as well as the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.

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