The good news is yes you can have a gastric balloon operation on the NHS. The bad news is that very few people actually do so.
The NICE guidelines under which NHS hospital operate, don't specifically mention gastric balloons for the management of obesity. For this reason, the procedure is not as widely available on the NHS as other forms of obesity surgery such as stomach banding and gastrointestinal bypass treatment.
If you are lucky enough to find an NHS hospital providing the balloon operation, you will still need to apply for funding for the surgery. This can take several weeks, if not months. And when you are finally approved for the procedure, you will then need to weight for an available operation slot.
Gastric balloons on the NHS, like other forms on weight loss surgery, will only be offered to patients who meet a strict criteria. To qualify for treatment, your BMI must indicate that you are clinically obese. You must have, or be likely to develop, a serious health condition as a result of your obesity. And finally, you must have tried other methods of weight loss such as diet plans and exercise programs.
If you can't have a gastric balloon on the NHS, you may be able to have the operation at any number of private clinics throughout the UK. Prices range from £4,000 to £7,000, and standards of care are, on the whole, very good.
Common Bariatrics Questions
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