The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines are that anyone with a BMI over 40 (or a BMI over 35 with co-morbidities) could be a consideration for bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is the collective term for anything from gastric bands to stomach stapling or bypass operations. All of these types of surgery are, putting it bluntly, trying to shorten the distance between the mouth and the anus in one form or another! As a consultant said at an obesity conference I once attended – if you connect someone’s oesophagus to their rectum, they will lose weight (as well as all chance of nutrients being absorbed by the body).
Last year in the UK approximately 6,000 obesity operations took place. 2,724 of them were on the NHS – an increase of 40% over the previous year. The demand is constantly outstripping supply and more people are becoming ‘eligible’ for this surgery every year with little increase in capacity. One in 12 British adults now qualifies for this type of surgery.