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Obesity (Bariatric) Service

The Oxford OesophagoGastric Centre offers support and surgical treatment for severely obese people to manage their weight loss.  Obesity increases the risk of serious health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep disorders, strokes, infertility and reduces life expectancy.  Due to pressure on the NHS to cope with the problems of an increasingly overweight population, government guidelines have been set for the referral of patients requiring this service.

A person's weight is considered 'ideal' if their body mass index (BMI) is between 18 and 25. BMI is calculated from weight in kg and height in metres. Click here to calculate your BMI and see where you come on the scale below:

BMI Definition
less than 18 Underweight
18 - 25 Normal
25 - 30 Overweight
30 - 35 Obese
35 - 40 Severely obese
40 - 50 Morbidly obese
over 50 Super obese
To be considered for obesity or bariatric surgery, patients must have a BMI over 40 (or 35 if also suffering from an obesity-related disorder), aged 18 or over and be strongly motivated to make the lifestyle changes required both before and after surgery.  They must already have tried other ways of losing weight.

Surgery works by reducing the amount of food available, and hence the number of calories, during digestion.  This is achieved by either restricting the size of the stomach so only small meals can be eaten, or by bypassing part of the small intestine so less calories are absorbed by the body. 

The surgeon discusses with the patient the types of surgery available including the advantages and disadvantages of each, before deciding on the most suitable course of action. Refer to Medical Conditions:Morbid Obesity for details and comparison of these procedures.

Both before and after surgery, patients attend day clinics where their weight is recorded, BMI calculated and waist, neck and mid-arm measurements taken.  For the two weeks prior to surgery, a special diet is recommended.  On-going post-operative support is provided with advice on diet and lifestyle changes. As weight is lost, minor adjustments to gastric bands may be necessary.

Further information can be found on the British Obesity Surgery Patient's Association website.

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