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Obesity surgery - other things to bear in mind


Excess skin

Weight loss surgery can be very successful and lead to a large amount of weight loss relatively quickly. As a result, the skin may not shrink back fully, leaving you with considerable excess skin around your abdomen. Some people choose to have additional surgery (often called a ‘tummy tuck’) to reduce this excess skin and improve their appearance cosmetically.

It is important to bear in mind that this type of surgery is currently considered non-essential and is unlikely to be covered on the NHS. So, if you are thinking about bariatric surgery, you may need to consider the cost of cosmetic surgery although it is a matter of personal choice and not everyone needs it or has it done.


What if surgery is not a suitable option?

Bariatric surgery will not be the best solution for everyone. This is the purpose of the initial assessment – to find out whether surgery is the best option for you and your personal circumstances. For example, if you have a history of eating disorders, you may be referred to a clinical psychologist for therapy and may be refused surgery as this could put your health at risk. This is because not everyone is able to control their eating to the level required after surgery.


Availability of treatment in the UK

According to the NHS Information Centre, there are several thousands of hospital procedures for weight-loss stomach surgery carried out every year in the UK. However, even if you do meet the above guidelines for surgical treatment, you may have to wait some time to get an assessment appointment, as there is currently higher demand to be referred for surgery on the NHS than supply.

If bariatric surgery is not available in your area, you may wish to seek the support of the British Obesity Surgery Patient Association ( or to contact your local PCT who may have to request an out–of–area referral.

Weight loss surgery is available as a funded option as well as privately. Costs vary depending on type of surgery, for more information visit the NHS website (



* Content on this page is produced with the kind permission of the British Heart Foundation, which is the joint copyright owner with Weight Concern

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