Health And Wellbeing For The Over 50s

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost in the UK?

weight loss surgery cost Primary Obesity Surgery Endolumenal

Being extremely overweight can have devastating effects on our health and quality of life. But losing weight and more importantly, keeping the weight off, is incredibly difficult! When all your attempts at losing weight through diet and exercise have failed, weight loss surgery may be an option to consider. But what does weight loss surgery cost and what does it involve?

According to the NHS, two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to several health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. 

Weight loss surgery can be an effective and long-term solution to help you reach your health goals. But before you commit to it, it’s important to understand all aspects of the procedure, including cost.

In the UK, weight loss surgery cost can be anywhere from £4,000 to £15,000 and is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of surgery, the individual surgeon, the hospital where the surgery is performed and your individual needs. It’s important to note that these costs may not include pre and post operative care, follow up visits and any additional treatments that may be needed.

If you would like to find out more, this article will discuss weight loss surgery cost in the UK, the different types of procedure and what the operation involves.

What Exactly Is Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery, popularly known as bariatric surgery, is a procedure that helps overweight and obese people lose excess weight.

There are several types of weight loss surgery that are available in the UK:

It’s important to note that weight loss surgery is typically only recommended for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher if you suffer from obesity-related health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Your doctor can help you determine if weight loss surgery is an appropriate option for you.

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?

The cost of weight loss surgery in the UK can vary depending on several factors, including the type of procedure, the individual surgeon, the hospital they operate in and its location and your own particular needs.

Here are average prices for the main types of weight loss surgery:

Weight Loss Surgery TypeAverage Price Range
Gastric Balloon Surgery£3,450 - £7,500
Gastric Band Surgery£4,995 - £9,600
Gastric Bypass Surgery£7,995 - £11,200
Gastric Sleeve Surgery£7,995 - £12,500

Private Weight Loss Surgery Costs

Weight loss surgery costs depend on the type of procedure you choose and your insurance coverage. Depending on your package, this may include pre-surgery consultations, aftercare appointments and follow-up procedures.

The cost of private weight loss surgery in the UK can vary significantly. Private clinic fees typically include hospital and anaesthetist costs, but you may have to pay extra for medication or other treatments. If you opt for private care, you must ask your clinic about any additional costs you may be liable for. Here is a quick overview of the average price based on the areas:

Region of the UKLowestHighestAverage
London- - £5,000 - £15,000
South West England--£4,000 - £14,000
East Midlands & East of England --£4,500 - £11,500
North West England & Yorkshire & the Humber--£4,500 - £10,500
Wales--£3,500 - £10,000
Scotland & Northern Ireland--£3,500 - £9,000

Who is Eligible for Weight Loss Surgery?

Not everyone is suitable for weight loss surgery. To be eligible for the procedure, you must meet the following criteria:

Additionally, you must have a strong support system in place, as weight loss surgery is an ongoing process that requires commitment and lifestyle changes. A psychological assessment may also be required to assess your suitability for the procedure.

Can I Have Weight Loss Surgery on the NHS?

Weight loss surgery is typically not covered by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, except in certain circumstances. If you are considering weight loss surgery and want to explore the possibility of having it covered by the NHS, you will need to have a referral from your GP to see a specialist. The specialist will assess your suitability for the surgery and determine whether you meet the criteria for NHS-funded treatment.

To be eligible for NHS-funded weight loss surgery, you will typically need to have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. You may also need to have tried other weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise, without success. 

Another major consideration is the current NHS waiting list times. You may have to face a considerable delay in receiving surgery.

weight loss surgery cost procedures cost of weight loss surgery

Types of Weight Loss Surgery in the UK

In the UK, there are several types of weight loss surgery available. Here are some of the most common in more detail:

1. Gastric Band Surgery

Gastric band surgery, also known as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), is a type of weight loss surgery that involves placing a band around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch. The band is adjustable and can be tightened or loosened over time to control the amount of food that can be consumed at one time.

What does Gastric Band Surgery Involve?

During the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen and inserts a laparoscope. This is a thin tube with a camera at the end, and it enables the surgeon to view the inside of the abdomen. The surgeon then places the band around the upper part of the stomach and secures it in place with sutures or staples. The band can be tightened or loosened over time by injecting or removing saline solution through a small port that is implanted under the skin.

Gastric band surgery is typically less invasive than other weight loss surgery procedures, such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, and has a shorter recovery time. It is usually recommended for patients who are morbidly obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher and who suffer from other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

As with any surgery, there are risks and complications associated with gastric bands, these include infection, bleeding, blood clots, leakage from the band, and problems with the band or the port. It is important to discuss these with your surgeon before deciding to undergo the procedure.

How Much Does Gastric Band Surgery Cost in the UK?

The cost of gastric band surgery in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, including the specific hospital or clinic where the procedure is performed, the individual surgeon, the type of anaesthesia used, and the individual patient’s health insurance cover. The average cost of gastric band surgery is around £7,000, although this can vary widely. Some private hospitals may charge more for the procedure.

It is important to note that gastric band surgery is generally not covered by the NHS, and patients will need to pay for the procedure out of pocket or through private health insurance.

Many healthcare providers will offer payment terms often with interest free periods so it is advisable to discuss the cost of the procedure and any potential insurance coverage with the hospital or clinic before deciding to undergo the surgery.

2. Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that involves creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach and attaching it directly to the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach. This procedure is also known as Roux-en-Y (RNY) surgery.

What does Gastric Bypass Surgery Involve?

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen and use surgical instruments to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The pouch is typically about the size of an egg and can hold only a small amount of food. The surgeon will then divide the small intestine and attach it to the pouch, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This creates a “Y” shape, which is why the procedure is called Roux-en-Y surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is usually performed using general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgery typically takes two to four hours to complete and is usually done on an inpatient basis, meaning you will stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery.

After the surgery, you will need to follow a special diet to help your body adjust to the changes made during the procedure. You will start with a liquid diet and gradually progress to solid foods as your body is able to tolerate them. You will also need to take medications to help prevent complications and to help you absorb nutrients.

This weight loss procedure is effective in helping people lose weight, but it is necessary to note that this is not a quick fix. The amount of weight you will lose will depend on your diet and exercise regime. However, studies have shown that people undertaking the procedure can lose 20-30% of their excess body weight within 12 months.

Having a gastric bypass can lead to significant weight loss and improvements in obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnoea. However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved. Some common risks of gastric bypass surgery include infection, bleeding, blood clots, leakage from the surgical site, gallstones, nutrient deficiencies, hernias, and bowel obstructions.

cost of gastric bypass uk weight loss surgery cost

How Much Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Cost in the UK?

Gastric bypass surgery is typically not covered by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, except in certain circumstances. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery and want to explore the possibility of having it covered by the NHS, you will need to have a referral from your GP to see a specialist. The specialist will assess your suitability for the surgery and determine whether you meet the criteria for NHS-funded treatment.

To be eligible for NHS-funded gastric bypass surgery, you will typically need to have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. You may also need to have tried other weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise, without success.

If you are not eligible for NHS-funded surgery or if you choose to have private treatment, you will have to pay for the surgery yourself. The cost of gastric bypass surgery can vary widely and is dependent on a number of factors, including the hospital where the surgery is performed, the individual surgeon, the insurance coverage you have, and the specific type of procedure. In general, gastric bypass surgery can cost anywhere from £7,000 to £15,000 in the UK.

It’s important to note that these costs may not include pre- and post-operative care, follow-up visits, and any additional treatments that may be needed. If you are considering gastric bypass surgery, it’s important to discuss the costs with your surgeon and get a detailed breakdown of all the fees involved. You may also want to check with your insurance company to see if they cover any of the costs.

3. Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a type of weight loss surgery that involves removing a large part of the stomach, leaving a narrow tube-like structure. The procedure is also known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

What Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Involve?

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a long incision in the abdomen and use surgical instruments to remove a large part of the stomach. The remaining part of the stomach is shaped like a tube or sleeve and can hold only a small amount of food. The procedure is usually performed using laparoscopic surgery, which means the surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen. They will then use a laparoscope which is a long, thin tube with a camera at the end, to access the stomach.

Gastric sleeve surgery is usually performed using general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgery typically takes about one to two hours to complete and is usually done on an inpatient basis, meaning you will stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery.

After the surgery, you will need to follow a special diet to help your body adjust to the changes made during the procedure. You will start with a liquid diet and gradually progress to solid foods as your body is able to tolerate them. You will also need to take medications to help prevent complications and to help you absorb nutrients.

However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved. Some common risks of gastric sleeve surgery include infection, bleeding, blood clots, leakage from the surgical site, and problems with the staple line. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of gastric sleeve surgery with your doctor and make an informed decision about whether the procedure is right for you.

Gastric sleeve weight loss surgery cost

How Much Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Cost in the UK?

If you are not eligible for NHS-funded surgery or if you choose to have private treatment, you will have to pay for the surgery yourself. The cost of gastric sleeve surgery can vary widely and is dependent on a number of factors, including the hospital where the surgery is performed, the individual surgeon and the specific type of procedure. In general, gastric sleeve surgery can cost anywhere from £7,000 to £15,000 in the UK.

It’s important to note that these costs may not include pre- and post-operative care, follow-up visits, and any additional treatments that may be needed. If you are considering gastric sleeve surgery, it’s important to discuss the costs with your surgeon and get a detailed breakdown of all the fees involved. You may also want to check with your insurance company to see if they cover any of the costs.

4. Biliopancreatic Diversion Surgery (BPD)

Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) is a type of weight loss surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach and attaching the small intestine directly to the remaining part of the stomach. The procedure is also known as biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS).

What does BPD Involve?

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen and use surgical instruments to remove a large portion of the stomach, leaving a narrow tube-like structure. The small intestine is then divided and the lower part is attached to the remaining part of the stomach. The upper part of the small intestine is then attached to the lower part of the small intestine, bypassing the first part of the small intestine.

Biliopancreatic diversion is usually performed using general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgery typically takes four to six hours to complete and is usually done on an inpatient basis, meaning you will stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery.

After the surgery, you will need to follow a special diet to help your body adjust to the changes made during the procedure. You will start with a liquid diet and gradually progress to solid foods as your body is able to tolerate them. You will also need to take medications to help prevent complications and to help you absorb nutrients.

Biliopancreatic diversion can be an effective treatment for obesity and can lead to significant weight loss. However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved. Some common risks of biliopancreatic diversion include infection, bleeding, blood clots, leakage from the surgical site, and nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of biliopancreatic diversion with your doctor and make an informed decision about whether the procedure is right for you.

Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) surgery is a less common weight loss surgery compared to other procedures such as gastric bypass surgery and sleeve gastrectomy. This is because BPD surgery is more complex and carries a higher risk of complications and nutrient deficiencies.

BPD surgery is typically reserved for people who are severely obese and have not been able to achieve significant weight loss with other methods, such as diet and exercise. It is also sometimes used in people who have certain medical conditions that make other weight loss surgeries less suitable.

How Much Does BPD Surgery Cost in the UK?

The cost of BPD surgery can vary widely and is dependent on a number of factors, including the hospital where the surgery is performed, the individual surgeon performing the surgery and the specific type of procedure. In general, BPD surgery can cost anywhere from £8,000 to £20,000 in the UK.

It’s important to note that these costs may not include pre- and post-operative care, follow-up visits, and any additional treatments that may be needed. If you are considering BPD surgery, it’s important to discuss the costs with your surgeon and get a detailed breakdown of all the fees involved. You may also want to check with your insurance company to see if they cover any of the costs.

5. Gastric Balloon Surgery

Gastric balloon surgery, also known as intragastric balloon therapy, is a non-surgical weight loss procedure that involves placing a balloon inside the stomach to help patients feel full and eat less. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and does not require any incisions or anaesthesia.

What does Gastric Balloon Surgery Involve?

During the procedure, a thin tube is passed through the mouth and down the throat into the stomach. The balloon is then inflated with saline solution and left in place for a period of time, typically six months. The balloon helps to reduce the amount of food that can be consumed at one time and can help patients feel full faster.

Gastric balloon surgery is usually recommended for patients who are morbidly obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with other health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. It is generally considered to be a safe and effective option for weight loss, but as with any procedure, there are risks and complications that should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

 

How Much Does Gastric Balloon Surgery Cost in the UK?

The cost of gastric balloon surgery in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, including the specific hospital or clinic where the procedure is performed, and the individual patient’s health insurance coverage.

According to the NHS, the average cost of gastric balloon surgery is around £4,000, although this can vary widely. Some private hospitals may charge more for the procedure.

It is important to note that gastric balloon surgery is generally not covered by the NHS, and patients will need to pay for the procedure out of pocket or through private health insurance. It is advisable to discuss the cost of the procedure and any potential insurance coverage with a healthcare provider before deciding to undergo the surgery.

Summary of the Main Surgery Types

The table below summarises the main types of weight loss surgeries:

Gastric BandGastric SleeveGastric BypassGastric Balloon
Minimum BMI30 kg/m235 kg/m235 kg/m230-45 kg/m2
Procedure type1-5 incision laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery under general anaesthetic5 incisions laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery under general anaesthetic5 incisions laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery under general anaestheticEndoscopic stitching procedure under general anaesthetic
Change to internal anatomyNone. The band is placed around the top of the stomach. No cutting of stomach or intestines80% of stomach removed but digestive system unalteredStomach cut to leave the small pouch. Intestines rerouted to bypass digestionStomach left intact
Expected weight loss50-60% excess weight loss (average five stone)50-70% excess weight loss (average seven stone)60-70% excess weight loss (average ten stone)50% excess weight loss after one year
ReversibilityFully reversibleIrreversible but future options preservedEffectively irreversibleIrreversible but future options preserved
AdjustabilityFully adjustable to meet patient’s needsNot adjustableNot adjustableNot adjustable

What Are The Benefits Of Weight Loss Surgery?

Surgery may be the best option if you have spent years trying to lose weight with diet and exercise but have been unsuccessful. Compared with other weight loss methods, it has been shown to produce the most dramatic and sustained results, helping you lose weight quickly and maintain weight loss in the long term.

Patients report an increase in mobility, enjoyment of daily activities and social interactions and a decrease in pain and feelings of depression and anxiety.

The surgery can also help improve obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnoea. You should feel more energised and have an improved sense of wellbeing after the surgery.

Weight loss surgery can be a life-changing experience that helps you achieve your health goals and dramatically improves your quality of life. With the right care and support, it is possible to lose excess weight for good and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

What are the risks involved?

Whilst weight loss surgery can be an effective treatment for obesity, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved.

Some common risks of weight loss surgery include:

In addition, weight loss surgery can also have some long-term effects, such as:

It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of weight loss surgery with your doctor and make an informed decision about whether the procedure is right for you. Your doctor can help you understand the specific risks and benefits of the different types of surgery and help you choose the option that is best suited to your needs.

What about recovery from weight loss surgery?

The recovery process after weight loss surgery can vary depending on the specific type of procedure you have and your individual circumstances. However, there are some general things that you can expect during your recovery.

After the surgery, you will typically stay in the hospital for a few days to allow the surgical wound to heal and to make sure you are able to eat and drink without any problems. You may need to take medications to help manage pain and prevent complications.

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will need to follow a special diet to help your body adjust to the changes made during the surgery. You will start with a liquid diet and gradually progress to solid foods as your body is able to tolerate them. You will also need to take medications to help prevent complications and to help you absorb nutrients.

It’s important to take it easy during the first few weeks after the operation and gradually return to your normal activities. You should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity and follow the instructions provided by your doctor and the medical team. You may also need to attend follow-up visits with your surgeon and other healthcare professionals to monitor your progress and address any concerns.

The recovery process can be challenging and may require some lifestyle changes. However, with proper care and follow-up, most people are able to return to their normal daily activities within a few weeks. If you have any concerns or experience any problems during your recovery, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Which procedure is best for weight loss?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best type of weight loss surgery for an individual will depend on a number of factors, including the patient’s overall health, medical history, and personal preferences.​​

Gastric bypass surgery is typically more invasive than other types of weight loss surgery and has a longer recovery time, but it can be more effective in achieving significant weight loss.

Sleeve gastrectomy is less invasive than gastric bypass surgery and has a shorter recovery time, but it is typically not reversible. This is currently the most commonly performed type of weight loss surgery in the UK.

Gastric banding is typically less invasive than other types of weight loss surgery and has a shorter recovery time, but it may be less effective in achieving significant weight loss.

It is important to discuss the potential risks, benefits, and long-term effects of weight loss surgery with your doctor or a healthcare provider before deciding which type of surgery is best for you.

If surgery is not possible in your own circumstances, you may like to consider weight loss injections. You can read our comprehensive guide by clicking on this link:

Cost of Weight Loss Injections in the UK in 2024

CONCLUSION

Weight loss surgery can be an effective and long-term solution to help you reach your health goals. Private weight loss surgery cost can vary depending on many factors, including the type of procedure, your own medical history and the individual hospital and location.

But by choosing the right hospital, an experienced weight loss surgeon and the procedure which best suits your individual needs, you may achieve the long term results which will change your life!