What's up doc - weight loss

‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.

Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help. This weeks question is answered by Mr James Smellie, consultant general and obesity surgeon.

This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on 16 January 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.

Read Mr James Smellie's response.


Hi, I am a 30 year old female, 156 cm and weigh 87 kg.  I am interested in gastric band surgery as I know you do not provide gastric balloon surgery? I have been trying to lose weight over last 3 years without much success. I have tried diets, gym etc but still seen no change. Could you please advise on the procedure and the information I need to know? I was hoping to have it done early this year. Regards,  Anonymous.


Dear reader, the gastric band is a good way to help to lose weight and has become very popular worldwide. It is a medical device and as with all medical interventions it has its possible complications and these have to weigh up against the risk of remaining overweight. Some people get medical illnesses as a result of this overweight such as diabetes, sleep apnoea and high blood pressure. In these people it is right to consider the band at a lower weight.
In this country medical devices may have guidelines on placement from bodies such as NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) who recommend that the band be considered in suitable patients over the BMI of 35 with other illnesses and over 40 without. The FDA in the USA is more liberal, having considered the question more recently than NICE and approves in people with BMIs of 30-35 and above. Your BMI is 35 so you would need to discuss whether it is indeed the right thing for you with our experienced nurses and doctors. Incidentally gastric balloons only last 6 months and are therefore only temporary respite against a lifetime of overweight.  

Do you need an appointment?

 Mr James Smellie , offers appointments at Spire
 Gatwick Park Hospital on Tuesday & the first
 Saturday of every month. To book an appointment
 call 01293 778 906 or email

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