Gastric Balloon on the NHS

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With regards to all surgeon the NHS there are guidelines set out which you have to meet, these guidelines are there to ensure your safety throughout and to make sure that you are offered the type of surgery which will be best suited to you. The Gastric Balloon procedure is temporary and is often used in people who are not suited for other procedures, for example you may be above a specific weight that is required for another type of surgery, therefore having a Gastric Balloon fitted could lead to you getting down to a more suitable weight. Sometimes a Gastric Balloon may also be fitted if your BMI is as little as 30, as it is a temporary measure it can be seen as an effective measure at reducing weight in individuals who are not as obese as others.

What guidelines do I need to meet?

You will need to be classed as clinically obese, with a BMI of 40 or above, if your BMI is above 35 and you suffer from a medical health problem such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, or any other illness which can be improved by a substantial amount of weight loss you may also be considered a Gastric Balloon. Being a temporary measure sometimes a gastric balloon is offered to patients with a BMI of as low as 30. You should also be able to prove that requesting a Gastric Balloon is your last option, so you will need to show that you have attempted various weight loss techniques prior to this, and that they have been unsuccessful. As well as demonstrating this you will need to show that you are ready to change your lifestyle, losing weight will be hard, and you will need to adopt a motivated and determined attitude to ensure that you achieve the best results possible.

I meet the guidelines – What should I do first?

Your first step would be to contact your GP, they will then assess you for weight loss surgery and they will be able to refer you onto a clinic which deals with this type of surgery. You will then need to be assessed by a number of associations before you are accepted for the procedure, therefore throughout it is best that you demonstrate the correct attitude and that you are able to prove any past attempts at weight loss were unsuccessful. If it is felt that your weight is inflicting upon your health, you will definitely have a chance of the NHS covering the cost of this procedure. Once you are accepted, which can be a lengthy process as every person is considered in depth and on a case by case basis you may have to wait for some time before you have the Gastric Balloon fitted.

Why do I have to wait for the procedure to go ahead?

Within the UK there are only a few clinics that offer weight loss surgery, this means that funding for this type of surgery is limited, and individuals will only be covered if their health is at risk due to their obesity. The clinics which carry out this type of procedure receive funding on a yearly basis, and they must therefore ensure that the funding is shared out at a steady pace, which can often cause a waiting period. If you are accepted for surgery you should speak to the clinic that you have been referred to as they will be much more aware of the time you may have to wait prior to the fitting of your Gastric balloon.

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