Understanding Weight Loss Surgery

You may have been dieting for much of your life, have never dieted or find it difficult to maintain weight loss. Maybe your GP has referred you for bariatric surgery as the best option for you. Whatever the reasons, the first step is finding out more to decide if bariatric surgery is right for you. 


When should I consider bariatric surgery? 

Bariatric surgery may be the right approach for you if you suffer from obesity and need to reduce the danger of life-threatening weight-related health problems. Bariatric surgery has been shown to prevent or improve heart disease.

  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Certain cancers such as breast, colon and endometrial cancer 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Osteoarthritis and joint problems 
  • Asthma 
  • Infertility 
  • Stress incontinence 
  • Sleep apnoea 
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

What does bariatric surgery do? 

Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries — known collectively as bariatric surgery — involve making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. Bariatric surgery is only considered when diet and exercise haven't worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight.  

Some of the procedures are designed to limit how much you can eat. Others reduce the body's ability to absorb nutrients, while some procedures do both. 

Bariatric surgery is not to be taken lightly. It is a major procedure that carries with it risks and side effects. Moreover for it to be effective in the long-term you must still make permanent healthy changes to your lifestyle. 


Is bariatric surgery suitable for me? 

To be suitable for surgery, you have to have a BMI of 40 kg/m2


What are the risks of weight loss surgery? 

As with any major procedure, bariatric surgery poses potential health risks, both in the short term and long term. Risks associated with the surgical procedure can include: 

  • Excessive bleeding 
  • Infection 
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia 
  • Blood clots 
  • Lung or breathing problems 
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system 

Longer term risks and complications of weight-loss surgery vary depending on the type of surgery. They can include: 

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Dumping syndrome, which leads to diarrhea, flushing, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting 
  • Gallstones 
  • Hernias 
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) 
  • Malnutrition 
  • Ulcers 
  • Vomiting 
  • Acid reflux 
  • The need for a second, or revision, surgery or procedure 
  • Death (rare)

How can I make sure I am ready for bariatric surgery? 

If you are a suitable candidate for weight loss surgery, your healthcare team will provide instructions on how to prepare for your specific type of surgery. You may need various tests and examinations prior to surgery. You may also have restrictions on eating and drinking and which medications you can take. In addition, you may be asked to start a physical activity program and to stop smoking if you smoke. 

Committing to changing your diet, exercise and lifestyle for life is the most likely method for success. This is not always easy but the team will help you to introduce these changes. Learn more about how you can prepare yourself for bariatric surgery


This is a big commitment. What is ahead of me? 

Your surgical journey will be tailored to your health situation but this guide will give you an overview of what you should expect when you are committing to Bariatric Surgery. You will have the support of our Bariatric Team throughout the process and after discharge. Learn more about your surgery journey

Include TRUS, a transrectal ultrasound. This is an ultrasound technique that is used to view a man's prostate and surrounding tissues. Day case procedures such as TRUS, are fully covered by most insurance plans.