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What does the sleeve gastrectomy weight loss procedure involve, and how much does it cost?

A sleeve gastrectomy is a form of obesity treatment where a small part of your stomach is stapled to create a narrow tube or sleeve. The remainder of the stomach is then removed, effectively creating a much smaller stomach. Food will be absorbed by the body as normal, but much less will be able to be consumed. The procedure is often used in cases where the patient is too overweight for a gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion.

The procedure
A sleeve gastrectomy is performed under a general anaesthetic, and will take at least an hour and an half, sometimes a lot longer, depending on the type of gastrectomy carried out. A partial gastrectomy involves the removal the lower half of your stomach. Your upper part of your stomach will be moved down and reconnected to your small bowel.

A total gastrectomy involves removing the entire stomach. The surgeon will then connect your oesophagus directly to your small bowel, so in effect you no longer have the capacity to store food. More information on what the gastric sleeve procedure involves.

Risks and side effects
As with most forms of obesity surgery, sleeve gastrectomy has a number of risks and possible side effects. Common complications include infection, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, as well as the development of possible heart problems. The mortality rate of sleeve gastrectomy is between 0.4% to 0.5%, meaning that 1 in approximately every 225 patients will either not survive the operation of die in the months following surgery. More details on the possible gastric sleeve complications.

Cost and prices
The price of a sleeve gastrectomy at a private clinic in the UK is approximately £8,000 to £10,000. In the US, costs are a little lower, and in countries such as Mexico, India or the Czech Republic prices are typically 30% less than those found at home. More information on the typical gastric sleeve costs.

NHS, private or abroad
Sleeve gastrectomy is available on the NHS but only if obesity is putting you at risk of developing a life-threatening condition. Your GP and surgeon will help you decide if a gastrectomy is the most suitable treatment. You can, of course, choose to have the procedure at a number of private clinics both in the UK and abroad. More details on gastric sleeves in the UK.

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