The decision to seek weight loss surgery is not to be taken lightly. It is a procedure that will have life long changes and is not without its risks.

In the UK, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have produced guidelines about who should be offered weight loss surgery. The guidelines, amended in July 2008, can be found here:

In summary the guidance says:

Bariatric surgery is a clinically and cost effective treatment for people with a BMI of 40+ or 35+ with significant co-morbidities, ie obesity related conditions such as sleep apnoea, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, depression.

To be eligible for surgery you should have exhausted all other methods of weight loss and attended a specialist weight management clinic or its equivalent.

(Other methods include calorie reducing diets, slimming clubs, prescribed drugs to assist with weight loss (eg Xenical or Reductil) or psychological treatments). Please remember these are only guidelines and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) may impose their own criteria above, but not below, these.

In addition, experience has shown that individuals should understand the risks, benefits and expected outcomes of weight loss surgery, they should be willing to play their part in achieving optimum results and attending follow up. Many other factors such as route, location, surgeon, operation type and follow up will be discussed elsewhere.

Please use a BMI calculator to help you establish your eligibility.