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Obesity Surgery

Dietitian, Juliette Kellow scrubs up for an investigation into surgery as a treatment for obesity.

Operation Obesity

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Ever since X-factor judge Sharon Osbourne and TV presenter Anne Diamond admitted to having had surgery to help them lose weight, the idea of going under the knife to shift those excess pounds has rarely been out of the news.

In recent months, there have been numerous magazine articles and documentaries, (including Embarrassing Fat Bodies), reporting on the stories of people who’ve resorted to surgical procedures to help them lose weight. For many, surgery has clearly been a lifesaver. But for others, it’s been a nightmare, with some saying they wish they’d never had it.

When new guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) were released last December, removing the age limit of 18 years for weight loss operations, a national debate began on whether surgery was a suitable option for teenagers to treat a weight problem.

The number of people who are having surgery is rising rapidly. Figures from the British Obesity Surgery Patient Association reveal that UK surgeons performed more than 4,300 surgical operations for weight loss in 2005 – almost double the number of 2004.

One thing is for sure: surgery as a treatment option for obesity is likely to stay top of the news agenda for some time yet.

Operations for obesity are not a miracle cure to help people shift a few unwanted pounds and should not be considered to be similar to cosmetic surgery. They are a last resort for people who have severe health problems due to their excessive weight.

All surgery comes with risks and these risks are even greater for people who are obese, so any procedure should be given plenty of thought and not be undertaken lightly.

Before undergoing surgery you should be properly prepared and understand both the risks and the benefits, both in the short and long term.

You should also be fully aware of what you can expect to achieve and the type of lifestyle changes you will need to follow after the operation, including changes to your diet.

The type of operation you have will help to determine how much weight you will lose. But ultimately, a big part of the success of any of the treatments will depend upon your willingness to change your eating and lifestyle habits. Don’t be fooled into thinking that having a weight loss operation means you won’t ever need to diet or exercise again.

Ultimately, for most people, surgery means they will be on a life-long restricted eating plan that allows only small amounts of food.

Bottom line: large meals, loads of snacks and lots of fatty and sugary foods will continue to be off the menu.

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More Information

www.obesity-surgery-advice.co.uk

Obesity Surgery Advice can help put you in contact with bariatric surgeons Tel: 0800 783 0303

www.nice.org.uk

NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health.

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