Frequently Asked Questions


Before Weight Loss Surgery


What happens during my consultation?
You will have appointments with a number of members of our bariatric team including a specialist nurse, dietitian and consultant.  All of these appointments can be made on the same day. It is usually at this time all the necessary tests are carried out or booked in preparation for your surgery.  You will be given a specific diet for both before and after your operation tailored specifically to you. This provides you with an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions and to gather the information you require to make an informed decision.


After my initial consultation how long will it be before I can have the surgery?
We recommend patients take some time to read through the information they have been given and prepare any questions they may have before making a final decision to have surgery.


Will my current medical problems/conditions affect my weight loss surgery?
Many people taking medication for pre-existing medical conditions undergo treatment/surgery. Some medical conditions associated with increased body weight, such as type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, hyperlipidaemia and high blood pressure, can improve following weight loss and therefore weight loss treatment/surgery can help.  It is vital that you inform the specialist nurse and your doctors of any investigations or treatments you are receiving to ensure all tests, investigations and changes to your medication are completed before proceeding, as this will best ensure your safety and reduce the risks associated with surgery.


What do I need to do to prepare myself for weight loss surgery?
You will be given a specific dietary plan to which you must adhere prior to your operation to prepare you for surgery.  Your consultant may also give you other advice to follow prior to surgery eg stop smoking.


What payment plans can you offer?
We focus solely on your individual treatment and care but we know that, for many patients, getting help with finance can make all the difference. We work with specialist medical loans company First Medical Loans to help you arrange affordable finance quickly and easily. Please contact us for further details.


Will my insurance cover the procedure?
At the moment most insurance companies do not recognise weight loss procedures in their policies.


Will I see the consultant before my procedure?
You will have a face to face consultation with your surgeon when you come for your initial out-patient appointments and your surgeon will also come and see you on the day of surgery, before your operation.


Are all of my appointments at a Spire Hospital?
All of your appointments both before surgery and after your operation will be held at your Spire Hospital of choice.  


Will I be able to meet your team and take a look around the hospital before I commit to seeing the consultant?
If you wish to have a tour of our facilities prior to attending this can be arranged by calling the hospital. 


If I have decided on my procedure, can I change my mind at anytime?
This needs to be discussed with your consultant, but provided they are happy to proceed with the alternative procedure, you can change your mind up until the day before your surgery.  If you change your mind on the day of surgery your operation may need to be rescheduled and the new procedure may be more expensive than you originally planned.


After Weight Loss Surgery


How long after surgery can I stay in contact with the clinical team?
We offer a two year follow up aftercare programme with all of our weight loss surgical procedures.  In addition our hospitals in Macclesfield and Manchester have support groups which you automatically become a lifetime member of.  The enables you to attend meetings with peers who have had similar experiences to yourself and who should help keep your weight loss on track.


Will I have to take ongoing medication?
You will be given advice about supplements and medication to support you following your surgery. Any medication taken pre-operatively will be discussed with you prior to your operation. Following surgery, some medication will be reduced and some may be stopped completely. This will be monitored at the hospital and adjustments made and guidance given in collaboration with you and your GP.


How will my other medical problems/conditions be affected as I lose weight?
Excess weight may have caused you to have co-morbidities e.g. type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.  Losing weight can, in some cases, improve these co-morbidities, although this is not guaranteed.


How much weight can I expect to lose?
Weight loss can vary depending on your starting BMI and the type of surgery you choose. The examples below give you some guidance as to what can be achieved:

Weight loss results following duodenal switch can be dramatic. The national average weight loss is 80% of excess body weight over a 12-18 month period.

The national average weight loss following a gastric bypass is 65-70% of excess body weight over a 12-18 month period. Weight loss is generally quite fast initially but will settle into a regular pattern. A patient with a BMI of approximately 50 would expect to reduce weight by 10-14lb per month.

Weight loss results following sleeve gastrectomy vary. The national average weight loss is 65% of the excess body weight over an 18-24 month period. 

Weight loss results following gastric band surgery also vary. The national average weight loss is 50% of the excess body weight over an 18-24 month period.

The aim of any treatment is to help individuals change eating habits and lifestyle to improve health and quality of life in the long-term. It is important to take this opportunity to make changes, as reverting to grazing or poor quality food choices may result in regaining weight or a less successful weight loss.


How long will I be off work?
Most people are able to return to work after 2-3 weeks depending on the kind of work you do. If you work in heavy manual labour you may require a little longer.


Will I have a lot of unsightly scars?
You will have five very small scars equally spaced across your upper abdomen. For band patient we are offering a single port insertion, which would leave patients with only one scar. Although very rare in emergencies it may be necessary to change to an open surgical approach. This would result in a scar line running from your belly button to underneath your rib cage.  

 The skin is closed with either soluble stitches or surgical glue. Wounds are generally covered for one week following which the dressings can be taken off. Wounds should be healed within two to three weeks and will fade over time.


How long after the procedure can I go on holiday?
It is surgically safe to fly a few weeks after your procedure but we recommend waiting until you are fully weaned back onto solid foods. Some patients with a gastric band think that their band might explode if they go on an aeroplane. This is not the case; the band is completely safe when you fly though you should wait for a few weeks following surgery before flying.


When can I drive following surgery?
You should not drive for ten days post operatively (DVLA policy). You can drive after that time if you can safely carry out an emergency stop. Ask your insurance company for advice if you have any doubts.


Will I have excess skin?
30% of patients who undergo bariatric surgery will experience excess skin and this is usually age, skin condition and weight loss dependant. Exercise and building muscle can improve the appearance of excess skin.


Will I need cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin?
Every body will react differently to rapid weight loss, and it depends on how much weight you have lost and how quickly. It also depends on the elasticity of your skin, which is affected by your age, whether or not you have stretch marks and if you combined your weight loss with exercise. Some patients do choose to have cosmetic surgery, although this is not recommended until both your weight loss and nutritional intake are stable.