Bariatric Surgery

The James Cook University Hospital has its own dedicated bariatric team including surgeons, dietitians, nurse specialists, psychologists, Allied health professionals and a metabolic physician.

Bariatric team

In order to be considered for weight loss surgery patients must have tried to lose weight in other ways and must have weight problems that affect their health or quality of life.

The trust offers all types of weight reduction surgery including gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. These are all done using key hole techniques to minimise recovery time.

Patients can be referred for bariatric surgery by their GP or from weight loss programmes but they have to meet strict criteria. They must have a BMI of over 40 (or over 35 if there are other medical risks).

They must have failed with other weight loss methods and must be committed to follow up appointments and to changing their eating habits.

Prior to surgery patients must attend educational seminars which explain each step of the process from pre-operative lifestyle changes to follow up appointments.

A specialist weight management service works closely with the bariatric surgery team to support patients who require hospital treatment. This integrated approach is unique to James Cook and ensures patients have as smooth a journey as possible.

Bariatric surgery was commissioned in October 2011 by The North-East Specialist Commissioning Group collaboratively across three local health trusts – South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Together they expect to treat up to 300 patients a year with two surgeons at each site.

Types of surgery available

Gastric banding

Artificially reduces the amount your stomach can hold and makes you feel fuller quicker. When the band is sufficiently adjusted the expected rate of weight loss is around 1-2lbs (0.5 – 1.0kg) per week. The gastric band is seen as a permanent procedure. It can be adjusted without further surgery.

Gastric (stomach) bypass

Artificially reduces the amount the stomach can hold and helps decrease appetite. Food also passes through the bowel at a quicker rate decreasing the calorie intake by malabsorption. This type of surgery is more invasive. Weight loss can be rapid in the first few months after surgery. Overall it is hoped that a patient will lose 70% of their excess body weight.

Sleeve gastrectomy

A permanent procedure which converts an expanding stomach into a tube by removing a large part of the upper stomach. It cannot be reversed. Weight loss results from volume restriction and risks associated with this surgery are similar to the bypass operation. It achieves weight loss in two ways. The stomach is narrowed significantly restricting the amount of food you can eat. It is also associated with a reduction of appetite as the portion of the stomach that is removed produces a hormone responsible for hunger.