Gastric Band on the NHS

Gastric banding is an operation which entails fitting a band around the higher part of the stomach. It can be used as a way to help people lose weight by limiting the quantity of food they can eat, and by making them feel fuller, faster.         



To have a gastric band on the NHS you need to meet certain conditions. These include:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old
  • A gastric band can not be the first action to lose weight. You must prove that you have tried and been unsuccessful in other methods of weight loss such as exercise and dieting.
  • Gastric Band surgery is only available to people who’s obesity is affecting their health.
  • You must have a BMI of between 35 and 40 and a serious health condition such as type 2 diabetes or a BMI of over 40 to qualify for surgery.
  • You must meet the medical and psychological terms of the procedure. If it is too risky to carry out surgery you can be denied.
  • You must understand that once the gastric band is fitted, you will have a long term commitment to enable you to lose weight. This includes exercising and minimising your food intake.

How long will it take to get the procedure?


Each gastric band operation is decided on a case by case basis, and is generally decided by your GP. If you are recommended for surgery it then depends on whether your local area has enough money set aside for the operation. Each operation costs around £7000 if done privately. With there only being so much money set aside on the NHS sector each year this is a major deciding factor on how soon you will be able to have surgery. 

How surgery is performed on the NHS


Surgery on the NHS will be performed in one of two ways. Either by ‘open surgery’ which is an incision cut into your abdomen or by ‘laparoscopic surgery’ which is when a small hole is made in your abdomen and surgery is completed by using small tools. Laparoscopic surgery is the safest option and the recovery time is also quicker. This is not always possible however as it depends on both the individual and the surgeon. 

Gastric band surgery will generally require a stay of up to 4 days in hospital, and the actual procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic meaning you will be unconscious throughout the operation.


Gastric band’s work as an aid to weight loss in that they effectively decrease the size of your stomach meaning that you feel fuller quicker. In order to have the procedure done on the NHS, the patient must adhere to a number of conditions before they will even be considered for surgery. The patient must be fit and healthy enough for the condition and they must abide by the long term commitment that the surgery entails. Compared to private surgery, there is a long waiting list on the NHS but for those who cannot afford to have the procedure done privately, a gastric band on the NHS may be their only option.

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