Concerns on Gastric Band Surgery Raised - New Report Shows Many People Undergoing Bariatric Surgery without Proper Information and Support

By Sharon Moore on October 19, 2012

Obesity is a growing concern all around the world, considered as one of the major causes of preventable diseases. In Australia, more than half of all adults and a quarter of children’s population are considered obese, while almost a quarter of the adult population in Britain are.  

While there are plenty of weight loss methods, many people choose to undergo surgical operations, considering it as a “quick fix” to their weight problems.

But report from the charity National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found that a lot of people undergo weight loss operations without being properly informed about the health risks associated with it, and other guidelines necessary for full recovery and weight maintenance. The NCEPOD researchers found that the most common procedures offered by the NHS as well as private hospitals for patients who are dangerously obese are gastric banding, by gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. 

Gastric band surgery has “considerable” side effects

According to Mr Ian Martin, co-author of the report and the clinical coordinator of the NCEPOD, bariatric surgery is a radical procedure that has plenty of health risks and benefits. Patients looking to undergo this treatment should not go without getting comprehensive information and support from doctors. Looking at their findings, the authors found that most cases of bariatric surgery undergone incomplete processes from start to finish. Some patients weren’t even given dietary advice and proper education about the procedure – some of the most basic pre-operative procedures in bariatric surgery.

For their study, NCEPOD researchers reviewed the case notes and care of 381 obese people, with an average age of 43, who undergone bariatric surgery. 80% of these patients were women. Records were obtained from the hospitals in England, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, Guernsey and Jersey. 223 of these operations were performed in NHS hospitals and the rest were carried out in independent sectors.

Among these patients, only 29% received counselling prior the treatment. Furthermore, 32% of them did not receive sufficient follow-up checkups after the surgery and almost a fifth had to be readmitted to the hospital.

The NCEPOD recommends that all patients must have access to all the specialists and professionals who specialise in the treatment. Psychological assessments, counselling and other forms of support should also be given to these people before as it has been shown by past studies that psychological disorders are common among obese people seeking to undergo bariatric surgery. They also suggest developing a two-stage consent process so that the risks and benefits of the treatment are fully understood by the patients. Lastly, NCEPOD recommends providing a continuous, long-term support follow-up plan and dietary guidance to achieve a sustainable weight loss strategy.


Sources of this article:

National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) press release

NCEPOD report: Too Lean a Service? A review of the care of patients who underwent bariatric surgery

The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) press release

NHS Choices


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