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Does a high BMI make surgery riskier ?

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The truth is yes, the higher your BMI, the higher your surgical risk. In fact, it is a greater weight that increases risk, but of course greater weight usually goes hand in hand with a higher BMI (unless you are very tall).

The higher risk stems from two main factors:

  1. The heavier you are the more difficult the surgery is from a practical perspective. The amount of fat in the abdomen could be greater than normal and the liver may be bigger, for example. These factors can extend operating time which increases risk.
  2. The greater your weight the greater the risk that you have an undiagnosed weight related co-morbidity. It could be that you have undiagnosed sleep apnoea or Type 2 diabetes and these would increase the risk of a complication during surgery.

Despite there being a greater risk with a higher BMI, we have to keep a sense of perspective. Bariatric surgery is one of the safest forms of surgery today with very low mortality rates across the country. We measure mortality within 30 days as standard and no deaths have been reported within this period according to the data available.

To ensure a safe and successful surgical outcome, patients benefit from a thorough pre-operative assessment process and are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team before their eligibility is confirmed.

When viewed alongside the risk to your health and life expectancy, the risk of surgery for the vast majority of patients is very small indeed.

We know that when patients have a BMI above 30 their life expectancy is diminished due to their weight. For those with BMIs above 40 the risk increases significantly. When battling the health issues associated with their weight, weight loss surgery offers a solution that cannot be achieved in any other way. When comparing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or cancer to the risk posed by surgery most patients opt for surgery, and rightly so. Only recently I operated on a chap who weighed more than 40 stone - his operation was widely reported on the BBC recently. His surgery went safely and according to plan. Weight loss surgery is both safe and effective and the path to better health and quality of life for most people who are eligible.

Mr Rishi Singhal, Healthier Weight Medical Director

We're still here!

Like the rest of our great country we’re keeping calm and carrying on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have healthy staff available (and probably like a lot of you, working from home) we’re here to talk to you about your weight loss options. 

Procedure bookings

While we can’t promise we can actually perform your procedure within the next several months, there is still opportunity to go through the eligibility and consultation stages. Our surgeons are on-hand to consult with you over the phone or Facetime (if available).

If you’d like to get ahead of the curve and plan a weight loss procedure with us in the future, we can add you to a priority waiting list for when we’re able to book hospital places again.

  • 0800 313 4618

Mon-Sat, 9am – 7pm

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