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Clinical obesity | Causes | Prevention | Morbid obesity | Exercise | Problems | Epidemic | Obesity in the UK | Diseases | Childhood obesity | Weight loss surgery | Diabetes and obesity

Weight reduction surgery has become incredibly popular, both in the UK and around the world. Over 7,000 people had obesity operation on the NHS last year, and many thousands more at private cosmetic clinics.

Although, obesity surgery is available on the NHS for free, not all hospitals provide full funding for the procures. The result of this is that you may struggle to be accepted as a patient for weight loss surgery. And even if do you receive funding, you will be faced with a long wait for an available surgery slot.

As previously mentioned, obesity surgery is available at a number of private clinics throughout the UK. Prices vary according to the technique used, and the clinic chosen. But on average, weight reduction surgery costs in the region of £700 to £12,000.

There are five main types of obesity surgery - gastric band, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion. Although most techniques are similar, there are key difference between the procedures:

A gastric band is the most popular form of weight reduction surgery, and involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of your stomach. This slows down the amount of food that can pass through your stomach which makes you feel fuller quicker. More information on gastric band surgery.

A gastric bypass reduces the volume of the stomach by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The pouch is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, thereby bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. Recovery time is approximately three weeks, and up to 70% weight loss can be achieved. Further details on gastric bypass operations.

A gastric balloon is a non surgical procedure that involves inserting a deflated balloon into the stomach via a long tube through the mouth. The balloon is then inflated with a saline solution which partially fills the stomach, and thereby simulates the feeling of fullness. More information on gastric balloon treatment.

Sleeve gastrectomy, or a gastric sleeve surgery, is sometimes used as an alternative to a gastric bypass, and usually involves removing the lower half of your stomach. The upper part of your stomach is then moved down and reconnected to your small bowel. Further details on sleeve gastrectomy surgery.

And finally, a biliopancreatic diversion is another complex procedure where the stomach is made smaller, and food is directed past the small intestine. At least two nights in hospital will be required, and recovery time is approximately three weeks. This procedure can result in 80% weight reduction, although 50-60% is more common. More information on biliopancreatic diversion treatment.

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