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Anyone got experience of bariatric surgery?

(37 Posts)
Spangles1963 Thu 14-Dec-17 19:01:21

I am very overweight,my BMI is 41. I am considering asking my GP if I would qualify for weight loss surgery,but I have 2 questions first.
1) Would I qualify on BMI alone? Everyone I know of who's had it (and I know a few) or read about,have all had diabetes,or high cholesterol,as well as being classed as clinically/morbidly obese. I do not have diabetes,or even borderline diabetes,or high cholesterol. I DO however,have hypertension,which is controlled by tablets. I also have rheumatoid and osteo arthritis,which particularly affects my knees,hips and back,so obviously,losing weight would help this issue.
2) Would I get any say in what form of surgery I have? I am desperate to lose weight but am really not keen on a gastric bypass,as I've heard too many horror stories connected with this procedure,and I know it is irreversible. The idea of having irreversible surgery then getting problems with it is not an attractive prospect. I would rather have a gastric band,or a gastric balloon,or gastric sleeve,as I believe these are all reversible if they cause problems.
Can anyone out there advise me?

Bobbins43 Thu 14-Dec-17 19:03:51


My STBXH had a gastric sleeve. I think you should be OK just asking for one and not having any other issues like diabetes etc... but it is a very long hard road. There are referrals to a bariatric department, multiple appointments, counselling. You will be expected to lose some weight too.

Do go and see your GP though and see what they come up with with. Am happy to answer any other questions

Ummmmgogo Thu 14-Dec-17 19:04:45

would you consider a hypno-band first? some people get good results from them.

Flumplet Thu 14-Dec-17 19:04:48

It depends on your local nhs trust criteria. Here in the West Midlands to qualify you need a certain bmi plus attend a healthy living course for a year before surgery. I can't commit to that or I'd literally have their hand off for surgery.

AfunaMbatata Thu 14-Dec-17 19:08:03

A gastric bypass IS reversible!

Many hospitals won’t do the band because of high complication rates (can errode into your stomach etc).

The funding depends on which area of the country you are in.

I’ve had a sleeve (where they remove two-thirds of the stomach). I found it great, very easily lost weight and now maintaining.

Spangles1963 Thu 14-Dec-17 19:09:29

Bobbins43 - I had an idea it would be a long slog to get one. Thanks for your offer of advice,I will bear it in mind.
Ummmmgogo - A hypno band? Can you explain a bit more about this?

AfunaMbatata Thu 14-Dec-17 19:10:11

Btw, the sleeve is NOT reversible.

Most surgeons will give you a choice between which surgery, often preferring the bypass or sleeve.

Spangles1963 Thu 14-Dec-17 19:12:22

AfunaMbatata - A gastric bypass IS reversible? Everyone I have spoken to who's had one (8 at the last count!) was told that it was permanent,definitely not reversible! Why would you be told this,if it isn't?!

MsCupcake Thu 14-Dec-17 19:13:32

And, for comparison...

My RNY gastric bypass is NOT reversible. Worked brilliantly BUT they don’t operate on your mind.

The result being, sEveral years on, I’m heavier than I have ever been and still having to have the lifelong meds/injections associated with the surgery.

Rebeccaslicker Thu 14-Dec-17 19:14:22

My friend had one, but went privately. She was thrilled with the result but it has made her eating quite awkward as she can only eat small amounts and some things upset her stomach. She thinks it's worth it ten times over though.

What about something like lighter life - that can have dramatic effects if you want to lose weight but aren't sure about surgery? I lost 3 stone on that about 5 years ago, most of it has stayed off! These days I think I'd do the 5:2 as I've seen friends lose a lot on that too.

Spangles1963 Thu 14-Dec-17 19:14:47

The sleeve is NOT reversible? I must have misunderstood what I've read about it. I don't know anyone who's had one,all the people I've spoken to have,except one,had a bypass. One person had a gastric band.

Ummmmgogo Thu 14-Dec-17 19:28:41

I don't know much about it but basically they hypnotize you into believing you have had a gastric band!

AfunaMbatata Thu 14-Dec-17 19:37:19

They just reconnect everything back together in order to reverse it. The stomach isn’t removed.
Really, I’m not making it up, spent almost two years sitting through info sessions at the hospital about the procedures.

The sleeve is where they remove part of your stomach.

Booboostwo Thu 14-Dec-17 20:09:41

A close family member had a gastric band and then a gastric bypass.

The gastric band was awful. It created an uncomfortable restriction, there were many foods that she could not eat and would unexpectedly retch up again and caused endless social problems with eating in public or at friend's' houses. She lost some weight, then took a break and deflated it only to put all the weight and then some back on.

She had it removed and went for the bypass which is entirely reversible. The old style bypass was not reversible but the more modern version is. She can eat most things but in smaller quantities and has lost a lot of weight.

Read up a bit more, both in statistics and facts, and on people's individual experiences of different options before you decide.

IJustLostTheGame Thu 14-Dec-17 20:16:42

In our area to qualify for bariatric surgery on the NHS your BMI needs to be over 45 and you need to have two or more co morbidities. Hypertension would count but the arthritis would not.
It's different in every area, its worth asking your GP.
I don't think it helped my friend. It fixed her physical problem, she lost weight for a while. But her relationship with food is even more unhealthy now. She's eating bad food in smaller portions and more often. In the last 6 months she's piled on half the weight she lost and is still miserable.
You have to be absolutely sure in your head that this will help before going ahead with something like this.

Spangles1963 Thu 14-Dec-17 20:17:37

Thanks everyone who has responded to my post. I've been enlightened regarding a gastric bypass,and I'm not against having one now that I know that it is reversible should I experience any major problems.

Mouikey Thu 14-Dec-17 21:25:00

I have a gastric bypass and had it in 2009. My bmi was 40 and I had no complaints comorbidities. My dieting history was well documented to the Drs and it w was my dr suggested surgery initially. Back then she applied for funding and got it simply, but things have now changed significantly (and rightly so).

Take a look at the nice guidelines for bariatric surgery but it is actually down to your local PCT as to what they find and the criteria - these vary greatly between areas.

Take a look at wlsinfo on fb or on the web as they are a supportive group of people who are at different stages in the process and can answer many questions.

You need to do your research for what would work for you and your eating habits. I would never have been successful with a band because of my habits. A bypass was the best fit for me (and 8st 7lb lost in under 12 months proved this to be right).

All surgeries can be reversed, but (except for the band to ) are significantly bigger and riskier surgeries than the original. However when I asked my surgeon he wondered why I would want to reverse something when the success rate is very high. Obviously it’s not plain sailing and not the easy option - meds for life, hair loss (in my case), and I have regained some weight (success is measured along the lines of 60% loss maintained at 5 years which I have done).

Bariatric surgery for dummies is a blood book and easy to read, the fat doctor was on discovery and follows patients having surgery, I would also strongly suggest watching the surgeries (yep in all the horrid graphic detail) so you really know what you’re getting into.

The surgery is the easy bit, the first week after is really hard particularly as your not hungry (which I never had before!). But (in my case) the weight loss was rapid and consistent and it was what I wanted. There are associated head issues with body thin, head fat (and this is super tough).

For me it was life changing and gave me significant (and unfair) opportunities as well as no longer being invisible (weird because I was massive!)

Good luck and feel free to pm me

Sugarnut Thu 14-Dec-17 21:36:49

I can only say what I’ve seen with mil and dh’s Aunt who both have a gastric band.

They seem ok with it but it doesn’t seem like a great way to live to be honest.

Let me explain myself.

They are still obese, not as obese, but still very much obese. Because they still have poor eating habits (not judging - I’m obese too)

For example mil won’t eat veg because it ‘gets stuck’. But she eats a lot of chocolate, pastry, creams etc. And drinks a lot of empty calories too.

Also - and this is what would stop me - because they don’t follow the advice, they are always throwing up. And I’m mean always. If they could come over for a meal or we go out for dinner they both run off to the loo to be sick at least a couple of times. At which point they eat some more.

From what she has mentioned they are supposed to chew a lot, eat very slowly and small portions and not drink with their meals.

If you don’t think you can do that I think you’d be better off maybe getting some therapy to deal with disordered eating or something first. Because the surgery won’t change that, and it will be a waste of time if you aren’t going to overhaul your way of eating.

AfunaMbatata Thu 14-Dec-17 22:01:56

All surgeries can be reversed

Not true.

Wish you well op.

Gingernaut Thu 14-Dec-17 22:08:39

Bariatric surgery is a postcode lottery.

People in certain regions don't qualify as too fat at BMI 45, as there are people with BMIs of over 60 or 70 who are considered to have greater medical need.

It is possible to 'eat around the surgery' and not only remain obese, but to gain weight.

There are forums for this, which I suggest you track down, as there are massive pros and cons to the different types of surgery.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Thu 14-Dec-17 22:14:14

I had the sleeve in 2012. It took 5 years before I was accepted for surgery because although I was 24st I had no comorbidities so didn't qualify. Eventually they diagnosed sleep apnoea (which I have had all my life but learned to live with so didn't think it was a problem and never sought treatment). I wanted a band at first but what changed my mind was both talking to people who had had the band and most were unhappy with It, and also thinking do I want to be able to pull out of being healthy? Why would I want to reverse it and risk going back to my old size?

I pushed for the bypass but ended up with the sleeve, it was new in my area at the time and I've been very impressed with the results. The only annoyance for me is the vitamin malabsorption and constant acid reflux, but rather that than obesity.

Gingernaut Thu 14-Dec-17 22:14:21

And yes, counselling and therapy for disordered eating is a must.

You are given counselling and assessed before you are put on the waiting list for surgery and even then, counselling sessions are part of the wait.

It's apparent that some people have said what they think the doctors want to hear.

They've said all the right things and appear to be heeding the warnings about changing their eating habits, but it still comes as a shock, after surgery, that they can't eat a certain food or in a particular way.

The complaints about constant vomiting nearly always boil down to failing to adhere to the new eating regimes.

It isn't magic. This is lifelong work.

delusionsofadequacy Thu 14-Dec-17 22:20:58

You may or may not be eligible but definitely worth seeing your gp for a referral to a bariatric clinic who may be able to help in other ways/get you prepared for the operation.
Its also worth noting it is a life long commitment in terms of medications (acid suppression and supplements) plus there will be restrictions on some medicines after such as anti inflammatory meds like ibuprofen etc which you might use if you suffer from joint pain

Christmascardqueen Thu 14-Dec-17 22:29:10

I only know of three women and one man who had non reversible surgeries. One passed away as a result of complications. Two despite having had surgical success didn’t loose the expected weight. The gent lost a huge amount of weight but had severe sagging skin in multiple areas (arms and abdominal apron).

Gemini69 Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:30

I have a Gastric band... I've had it for nearly 15 years.... best thing I ever did....

Many of surgeons are steering away from Banding.. simply because of the aftercare involved in Band Fills etc... Gastric Sleeve/Bypass seems to be favoured now...

Good luck fgrin

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