Bariatric surgery: What weight loss surgical options are available?

Written by: Mrs Kalpana Devalia
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Bariatric (or weight loss) surgery is the name for a group of surgical procedures that can help to treat excess weight, by making changes to the digestive system.


Here, Mrs Kalpana Devalia, leading consultant general, gastrointestinal and bariatric surgeon, provides an expert insight into bariatric surgery. She explains what are the main operations performed, who is a suitable candidate and how results can be maintained, among other important points.



What surgical options exist to help people with obesity lose weight?


There are two main surgical operations which are offered worldwide to help patients lose weight: sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery.


Both of these operations are extremely safe and are both performed using a minimally invasive (keyhole) technique, which helps with reduced post-operative discomfort and early recovery.


Who is a candidate for these surgeries?


To assess who is the best candidate for weight loss surgery, there is a guidance to follow, which depends on the patient's body mass index (BMI). This involves a simple equation that is calculated by dividing a patient's weight in kilograms divided by squaring their height in meters.


The equation may seem a bit complicated, but it is very simple and there are BMI calculators available online for people to calculate their BMI. Classification for BMI is as follows:

  • A BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 kilograms per meter square is classed as normal
  • A BMI greater than 25, but under 29.9 kilograms per meter square is classed as overweight
  • A BMI over 30 is classed as obesity
  • A BMI of about 40 is classed as extreme obesity or severe obesity


Patients who would be eligible to have bariatric surgery are:

  • Patients who have extreme obesity
  • Patients who have severe obesity
  • Patients who have obesity with a significant co-existing medical condition that is directly related to their obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, asthma or sleep apnoea


Do the results of these surgeries usually last?


The results of weight loss surgery are expected to last for decades, but it is extremely important that these patients follow a healthy diet, make all the lifestyle changes required in terms of maintaining their weight loss, and also have a structured exercise program to follow.


Are there any risks to these types of surgery?


Weight loss surgery is a major operation, but it is extremely safe and the risks are low. The risk of mortality is comparable to a gallstone operation or a knee operation, for example, which are very common operations with very low risks.



If you are considering bariatric surgery and wish to discuss your options with an expert, don’t hesitate to visit Mrs Devalia’s Top Doctors profile today.

By Mrs Kalpana Devalia

Mrs Kalpana Devalia is a leading London-based consultant bariatric surgeon, with more than 10 years of experience. Mrs Devalia practises at the Cleveland Clinic and Portland Place Outpatient Centre, both in central London. She has been a consultant surgeon at the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust since 2011. Some of her areas of expertise include bariatric (weight loss) surgery,  treatment for gallstones, acid reflux and hernia procedures.

Mrs Devalia is also an expert on Semaglutide, a medication used for pharmalogical weight loss. This treatment may be more suitable for patients who are not keen on weight loss surgery, and who suffer from at least one weight related condition. This treatment may also be exceptionally offered to people with a BMI of 30.0 kg/mg² to 34.9 kg/m². This is a part of a specialist weight management service with multidisciplinary input. 

Mrs Devalia has a special clinical interest in surgery for severe obesity, gastrointestinal surgery and advanced laparoscopic surgery. She is one of the UK’s most trusted bariatric surgeons, having performed over 1000 laparoscopic procedures over the course of her career, such laparoscopic gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy.  

Mrs Devalia has received extensive training across the UK, India and Belgium. She graduated with an MBBS from the University of Mumbai in 1989, before going on to qualify with a FRCS (Edin) at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and a FRCS (Glas) at the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow, both in 2000. Mrs Devalia then received her FRCS (Gen Surg) in 2011.

When Mrs Devalia is not treating patients, she carries out research into a wide range of bariatric treatments, and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is also a faculty member for various different medical training courses and international symposiums at Homerton University Hospital. She offers a free consultation to ensure patients know the best treatment options available.

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