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Weight loss surgery available at local hospital for the first time

Obesity is a major issue in the north east - the region has some of the highest rates of obesity, amongst adults and children, in England.

Now for the first time patients who need weight loss surgery will be able to have this surgery at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

With the additional skills of specialist bariatric consultant Mr Akeil Samier County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is able to offer a full range of weight loss surgery at the hospital including Gastric banding, Gastric bypass and Sleeve gastrectomy.

Mr Samier joins consultant surgeon Mr Andrew Gilliam to lead the service which begins on Tuesday 4 October with an educational seminar for potential weight loss surgery patients.

The seminar is the first step in a patient's journey with the hospital towards weight loss surgery. Patients will be referred to the seminar either from their GP or a weight loss programme where they will have tried many times to lose weight but have been unsuccessful and have failed with conservative treatments. 

The Trust already has four patients registered for the seminar which will take patients through the whole process from before surgery to the follow up required post surgery.

Mr Akeil said: "I am delighted to have joined County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and be part of delivering this service to the communities of County Durham and Darlington for the first time.

"I am looking forward to meeting with our first cohort of patients at the seminar. The seminars are really about explaining the whole process step by step, by this point patients will have received a patient information leaflet and we'll have taken a full medical history, so it is about explaining the different types of surgery, providing an opportunity to answer any questions and it is a multi disciplinary approach so there will also be dieticians available and other support services. Some patients will decide from the seminar that they do not wish to proceed with the surgery but we follow up with each patient a few days after the seminar to discuss their options and decision.

"We'll be providing three different types of surgery, all of which are done as a key hole surgery procedure so that the recovery time is much shorter.

"There is a strict criterion for patients to meet for example patients surgery is a possible treatment for patients with a BMI of over 40, or over 35 in the presence of other medical risks such as high blood pressure. These patients will have tried everything beforehand and will have failed with conservative methods and they must be committed to the follow up and to changing their lifestyle and eating habits after the operation.

"We expect to carry out around 300 procedures a year which will average about two a week." 

The Trust will perform the following procedures:

Gastric banding artificially reduces the amount your stomach can hold and makes you feel fuller quicker. When the band is sufficiently adjusted the expected rate of weight loss is around 1-2lbs (0.5- 1.0kg) / week. The gastric band is viewed as a permanent procedure and removal of the band would only occur if there is a medical problem. The band can be adjusted without further surgery.

Gastric (stomach) bypass artificially reduces the amount the stomach can hold and helps decrease appetite and also the food passes through the bowel at a quicker rate decreasing the calorie intake by malabsorption. This type of surgery is more invasive. Weight loss can be rapid in the first few months after surgery. Overall it is hoped that a patient will lose 70% of their excess body weight.

Sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent procedure which converts an expanding stomach into a tube by removing a large part of the upper stomach. It cannot be reversed. Weight loss results from volume restriction and risks associated with this surgery are similar to the bypass operation. A sleeve gastrectomy achieves weight loss by two main mechanisms. The stomach is narrowed significantly restricting the amount of food you can eat. It is also associated with a reduction of appetite as the portion of the stomach that is removed produces a hormone responsible for hunger. Sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent procedure.


Published: 3 October 2011

'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after and very impressed.'

Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital