I read yesterday that an NHS Trust in London has taken the bold step of starting to do gastric bypass procedures as day cases, that means you are admitted on the morning and go home in the afternoon. It's another great innovation within the NHS. I’m sure sleeves will be next. Gastric bands are already day cases and have been for some time.
Most NHS Trusts and private providers are still keeping their bypass patients in for one or two nights after surgery, I know that Healthier Weight keeps them in for 2 nights. This is to observe the patient postoperatively to make sure there are no leaks or bleeds before the patient goes home. These complications can escalate quickly so you really want to have the patient in the hospital if and when they occur.
That’s not to say this new program isn’t a positive step forward though. With budgets under pressure, Trusts need to find ever more innovative ways to treat patients. I note that only 20% of the lowest risk bypass patients would be eligible as a day case, and they’d need to live within 45 minutes of the hospital.
It’s a reminder of how far surgery has advanced. In years gone by the bypass was an open procedure that would require the patient to stay in the hospital for a week and then allow another 3 or 4 weeks at home for recovery.
With keyhole surgery, these procedures have been transformed and when done by skilled surgeons patients are generally able to have them, get home the same day or the next and resume a normal life within a few days.
Weight loss surgery isn’t as drastic as most people think it is. Perhaps now that we are doing day case bypasses that message will be reinforced.
Weight loss surgery