Patient stories

Weight loss surgery can change and extend patients’ lives.

Weight loss surgery (also called bariatric or obesity surgery) is a long-term commitment and a lifelong change. For this reason, it’s vital you choose carefully where to have surgery, so you can be sure you’ll have the ongoing support you’ll need. At Spire Washington Hospital, we’re with you all the way.

The benefits of weight loss surgery at a Spire Washington Hospital include:

  • experienced surgeons specialising in bariatirc surgery and procedures
  • trained nurses, physiotherapists and dietitians
  • on-going, individually tailored support and advice programmes
  • finance options available
  • free information events and support groups - check our hospital events pages for details

We will provide you with advice and support throughout your weight loss journey, from your first appointment until long after your surgery. Our dietitian, who is experienced in advising patients on making lifestyle changes, will help to guide you through your first year following surgery. At the end of the year you will have learned how to work with your choice of surgery to achieve optimum results.

Beverley's gastric band story

Beverley had a gastric band procedure here at Spire Washington Hospital which involves a band being tied around the stomach to reduce the amount of food that be consumed.

Click here to read more about Beverley's experience

Beverley Grainger from Spennymoor had a gastric band fitted at Spire Washington Hospital in 2011 after years of struggling with her weight. Here she shares her story about how weight loss surgery has transformed her life, why she’s investing in motorbike leathers and what made her take the big step at the age of 52.

Weight loss surgery is a big decision to make – why now?

"I spent years battling with my weight and tried every diet in the book. Nothing worked – I’d slim down a bit and then the pounds would come piling back again. Over time, my weight increased and by the time I stopped working I was a size 20. I probably wouldn’t have known what to do or where to turn but my sister and niece had experienced their own weight problems and were much more proactive in seeking help. They both had gastric bands fitted at Spire Washington Hospital and it was a hugely positive experience – they’ve never looked back since."

How did Spire Washington Hospital help you?

"Although I’d seen the positive results that surgery could bring, I wanted to find out more for myself and see whether I was a suitable candidate, so went along to one of Spire Washington Hospital’s weight loss evenings where they have question and answer sessions with consultants and dieticians. It was really helpful and I decided there and then to ask my GP for a referral. This meant I was able to chat to a surgeon about the options and pros and cons, and by the time I had talked things through with my consultant Mr Balupuri, I knew it would be hard but the surgery could transform my life."

What was the hospital experience like?

"In terms of the hospital and staff, Mr Balupuri was brilliant but so was everyone – from the nurse who looked after me on the day of my operation to the monthly support group team post-surgery and even the ladies on reception. I was given plenty of information and had lots of help with changing my lifestyle, which could have been a big struggle. The operation itself only required an overnight stay and the facilities and private rooms were clean and quiet. When I left, I had lots of support with pain management - the care really was excellent."

What is life like now?

"There is a big adjustment following weight loss surgery and anyone thinking about it needs to know it takes a lot of effort but for me, it’s been the best thing ever. I’m one year on from my operation and I’ve never felt happier or healthier. I’m down to a size 12 and have a whole new wardrobe! I can do things with my grandchildren that I wasn’t able to do with my own kids and it’s just amazing to have my life back. I even go to boot camp – something I would never have dreamed possible.

"Best of all, my husband is over the moon even though he didn’t want me to have the gastric band fitted – he wanted me to be happy just the way I was. He’s a motorbike fanatic and for the first time in the 38 years we’ve been together, I’ve been able to share his hobby. I’ve been out on the bike with him, have now bought my own and we have big plans. Next stop a tour of Europe! I’m so grateful to Mr Balupuri and Spire Washington Hospital for everything they’ve done."

Diane's gastric bypass story

Diane had a gastric bypass operation here at Spire Washington Hospital where the size of the stomach is reduced, and then a piece of the small intestine is attached to the newly created reduced stomach.

Click here to read more about Diane's experience

Having had a gastric bypass, Dianne Sharp from Houghton-le-Spring is one patient who can talk very positively about her experience. Managing director of expanding pharmaceutical business SCM Pharma in Prudhoe, Dianne needed to know what her options were and exactly how much time she’d require away from work.

Dianne said: “A hip replacement five years ago meant I was restricted with what I could do exercise-wise and despite having lost six stone prior to the operation, this soon came back - and more. I knew that if I was to keep the hip in good condition and have a good quality of life I had to do something so decided to check out surgical options because dieting just wasn’t working.

“I’d been to Spire Washington Hospital before so I was confident of the facilities and level of care available and research showed Mr Small, a consultant there, came highly recommended, which made the decision of where and who much easier.

“Determining the actual solution was actually straight forward too – although I’d originally considered a gastric band, the discussions and information provided helped me realise that gastric bypass surgery would ultimately provide a more appropriate long-term solution and I haven’t looked back since. Being able to book each step around my work and personal commitments was a huge relief and made the whole process much easier to manage.

“Post the operation I had a few complications (although unusual, always a risk), so I got to see every aspect of the service on offer. Mr Small and the team were on hand at all hours and the care really was of the highest quality. As far as I’m concerned the hospital comes highly recommended and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Allison's gastric sleeve story

Allison had a gastric sleeve procedure here at Spire Washington Hospital which reduces the size of the stomach to about a third of it's original size.

Click here to read about more Allison's experience

Insurance broker Allison Lonsdale, 56 from Trimdon Station, talks through her experience of having a gastric sleeve fitted at Spire Washington Hospital by one of our most respected consultants, Mr Balupuri, after surgery carried out abroad resulted in complications.

Allison said: “Until I needed knee replacements I never really had particular issues with my weight but as I became less active, I started to get heavier and heavier. At the time, the hospital I was attending was unwilling to perform the operation because of the extra weight I’d put on so I decided to look at the options in front of me.

“The upshot was that I had a gastric band fitted and although initially this was successful and I lost lots of weight, it proved not to be a good long-term solution During a family holiday I suddenly became so ill I was hospitalised and upon my return to the UK required an emergency removal from the plane. It was discovered that I had developed gallstones and as a result my stomach had strangulated and the band had to be removed immediately. Six weeks after that my gall bladder was removed and overall it was quite a difficult time.

“However I was now much lighter and was able to have both of my knee replacements carried out (one of which was carried out at Spire Washington Hospital). After surgery I swore I wouldn’t put the weight back on, but gradually month after month the pounds increased as did the pressure on my new knees.

“I attended a weight loss evening at Spire Washington Hospital, which was great as there was lots of information and I got to meet people who had been through the various procedures in an informal setting. I also met Mr Balupuri, who listened very carefully to my needs and talked me through the various surgical interventions that could be carried out. As a result, we decided that a gastric sleeve would deliver the results I needed and it was the right decision.

“Mr Balupuri performed the operation last March and since then I have lost 3.5 stone and my weight is still decreasing. It’s coming off as slowly as it went on which suits me perfectly because this is the safest way and I’ve felt well every step of the way. The post surgery care by Mr Balupuri and all the team at Spire is second to none and I still attend the support group meetings.
“I have to say I feel much happier in myself than I have done in years – I’m out of the downward spiral I was in and the aftercare at Spire Washington Hospital has been nothing short of superb. I’ve had a lot of excellent lifestyle advice and there has been great support with the new routine that weight loss patients need to adopt. The operation is not an easy decision to make and making it work takes a lot of effort.

“Anyway I’d recommend the hospital and Mr Balupuri to anyone in a similar situation to the one I was in. The desire to help me achieve a happier, healthier and pain free lifestyle has been obvious from the start and the whole experience has been a really positive one, for which I’m extremely grateful.”

Tanya Kane

Tanya's gastric sleeve story

Tanya had gastric sleeve surgery performed here at Spire Washington Hospital in 2014 under Mr Balupuri and has lost over seven stone since the operation.

Click here to read about Tanya's experience

Tanya Kane from Winlaton had gastric sleeve surgery performed at Spire Washington Hospital in February 2014 and has now lost over seven stone after struggling with her weight for her whole adult life. Here she shares her story about how weight loss surgery has transformed her life so much so that she is now preparing to complete the 2015 Great North Run.

Tanya, having weight loss surgery is a big decision to make – what made you decide to go ahead?

“I have always been what I would class as a yo-yo dieter. Being a mother to three children and three step children means that I have a very busy life and found it very difficult to stick to a diet for long. Like a lot of people I would start a diet on Monday morning and by Thursday I would flag, give up and promise myself to give it a better shot the next week. Some diets worked really well for me and I would lose three to four stone but then I would feel great, ditch the diet and reward myself for all the hard work and the weight would creep back on. When I decided to go down the surgery route I wanted a permanent tool to help me get long term results since I knew how to lose weight and eat well but I had got to the point where my weight was out of my control.”

How did Spire Washington Hospital help you?

“I did a lot of research into the different types of surgery including what hospitals performed these operations, the prices and surgeons. During my search I came across Spire Washington and decided to give them a call where I spoke to Sharon Day, one of the customer service team. I knew after a 10 minute conversation that Spire Washington was the hospital I was going to use. She was very informative and supportive and there was no hard sell where as with other hospitals I had contacted I felt like I was being hounded on the phone and by email. It was like the other hospitals just wanted my money but Spire Washington and their staff actually wanted to help me.”

What was the hospital experience like?

“From my initial consultation in November 2013 with Mr Balupuri to my final one in early February 2015 I have been very well looked after. All of the staff at the hospital are so friendly and supportive, they can't do enough for you. During my stay at the hospital I felt comfortable and everything was very clean. I know that if I was to consider more surgery in the future I wouldn't go anywhere else because when you come to Spire Washington they make you feel like you are important.”

What is your life like now?

“WOW!  That's how I feel and I can honestly say that this is the best thing I have ever done. I have totally invested in myself and I now have a permanent tool to help with my weight loss. I am very conscious about what I eat now as I don't ever want to be back where I was. I now exercise three to four times a week and my goal is to do the Great North Run in September and for someone who couldn't make it to the top of the stairs without gasping for breath less than a year ago, it proves how far I have come. Mr Balupuri, Maureen the specialist dietitian, Sharon Day and all the staff have been helping me every step of the way, I feel that Spire Washington Hospital has given me my life back.”