Fat Britain: Gastric bypass operations on the NHS up by 530% over the past five years
18,577 gastric bypass and 7,650 gastric band operations were carried out between April 2006 and March 2012Gastric bands cost up to 8,000 while bypasses cost up to 15,000
Risk of complications are 1 in five for bypasses and 1 in 10 for bands

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UPDATED:

11:16 GMT, 23 August 2012

The number of gastric bypass operations carried out by the NHS in England has risen five-fold over the past five years, new figures have revealed.

Some 5,407 procedures took place in 2011/12 to help obese patients lose weight, compared with just 858 in 2006/07 – a massive 530 per cent increase.

The data, released by the Health and
Social Care Information Centre, show a further 1,316 gastric band
operations were completed between April 2011 and March 2012 – nearly
double the 715 procedures over the same period five years earlier.

Gastric operations should be the last resort, said Health Minister Simon Burns, but numbers are rising

Gastric operations should be the last resort, said Health Minister Simon Burns, but numbers are rising

There were also 1,618 gastric band maintenance operations and 124 procedures to remove the weight-loss mechanism in 2011/12.

Previous research from Imperial College London suggest numbers have risen because more obese patients are aware surgery can help them.

The NHS says a gastric banding procedure costs between 5,000 and 8,000 while a bypass costs between 9,500 and 15,000.

The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) said gastric bypass operations had proven to be the most effective surgery to ensure long-term weight loss.

The society has now called on the Department of Health to guarantee patients have equal access to the treatment.

Weight-loss operations, sometimes called 'bariatric surgery', work by restricting the amount of nutrients that can be digested and absorbed by the intestine.