Patient information – Why see a specialist?

Welcome to the website of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society. We are a professional society of surgeons involved in obesity management. Membership of the Society includes medical professionals and allied health professionals including specialist nurses, dieticians and psychologists.

Obesity is linked to a large number of health problems, including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, cardiovascular disease and liver disease. The risk of developing chronic illness and the likelihood of premature mortality increases with a person’s BMI. As well as physical symptoms, the psychological and social burdens of obesity are considerable.

This website doesn’t aim to offer detailed patient information about the range of operations undertaken by Bariatric (weight-loss) surgeons. This information can be found via other patient-focused organisations and we list several below. As a starting point we advise people to visit their GP to talk about weight-loss options. If you are already have a surgical appointment then your bariatric surgeon will be happy to answer your questions.

If you are a interested in bariatric surgery – or are a friend or relative of someone who is interested – you may want to find out about available treatments.

As well as talking to health professionals you will be able to find a large amount of information on other websites, for example, the websites of individual surgeons, Hospital Trusts, health charities and health organisations, nationally and internationally.

NHS or Private?

Many people will qualify for NHS Bariatric surgery. Ask your GP to find out what is available in your area. If your region does not have a bariatric service, you should be able to ask for a referral to another centre.

Private bariatric surgery is available in some NHS centres, or at other reputable private hospitals supported by the same specialist surgeons. Enquiries can be made direct to the hospital department.
Private patients should be able to choose their surgeon and hospital and timing of surgery. Private bariatric surgery is usually purchased as a ‘care package’. The details of what is included should be carefully studied.

UK or Abroad?

UK-based specialist Bariatric surgeons are fully qualified and covered to perform Bariatric surgery. They must practice surgery to the high standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC). Patients can expect a long term duty of care, which the surgeon must provide or arrange.

European Surgical centres also provide Bariatric Services. Patients seeking surgery in Europe – which may be cheaper than private surgery in the UK – should ensure that arrangements for long-term care have been put in place before surgery. An opinion from a UK specialist can be useful prior to deciding whether and where to go abroad.

Worldwide Centres of Excellence are also available for private bariatric surgery. Again, an opinion from a UK specialist is likely to prove valuable.

Useful websites

American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery is the largest surgical society in the world for this area of treatment. Although the information is directed primarly at an American audience, it contains a great deal of patient and healthcare professional information.

Association for the Study of Obesity This group has a membership of 400 scientists, medical and health professionals, runs training meetings and conferences and produces a newsletter.

British Obesity Patients Association (BoSPA) A patient support group which provides information for people considering obesity surgery, support for patients post-operatively on their road to improved health and works with health professionals to improve obesity surgery services in the UK.

National Obesity Forum Set up by GPs. Its work includes supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity, which raises debates about the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea This website is a useful information resource about obstructive sleep apnoea (a common co-morbidity of morbid obesity) and its treatment.

Weight Concern A registered charity dedicated to fighting obesity and including programmes to tackle childhood obesity.

Weight Loss Surgery Information A comprehensive resource offering information and support on weight loss surgery.