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Nuffield Health: Weighing in for the New Year

Weight management is a topic on which everyone has an opinion, but these opinions can be overgeneralised and actually detrimental rather than helpful.

Stereotypical views of weight as a reflection of laziness and greediness, combined with diets that have been unsuccessful in the longer-term compound a personal sense of failure and shame. And the more times a person goes around the cycle of weight loss, the harder it is to believe that anything can change.

The tide is changing, however, from old messages of ‘you just have to eat less and move more’ to recognising the complexity of factors that influence weight. Sleep, stress, endocrine disturbance, gut hormones, nutrition and physical activity levels all have a part to play, as well as genetic factors which can be activated under certain physical and environmental conditions.

What we offer
At Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, we provide a range of different interventions to meet an individual’s needs. Our specialist weight loss team is made up of consultant bariatric surgeons James Hewes and Alan Osborne, dietician Dafydd Wilson-Evans, and consultant clinical psychologist Vanessa Snowdon-Carr. Between them, they offer a multidisciplinary approach which begins with a comprehensive assessment to understand when difficulties with weight developed, eating habits, physical and emotional health and wellbeing, before suggesting the options for treatment.

Wellness interventions
Because many people want to refocus on weight management, we offer a number of different options, including; individually tailored support from dietitians, group interventions for dietary change, or a focus on habits and behaviour change with a clinical psychologist. We offer more specialised psychological help if needed for disordered eating and mental health difficulties, as these issues are likely to have an impact on how food is used.

Gastric balloons
A gastric (stomach) balloon is an inflatable medical device that is temporality placed into the stomach to reduce weight. It is helpful for weight loss when other dietary approaches have not been helpful and surgery is not wanted or recommended. At the Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, we use the Allurion Balloon, which does not require any surgery, endoscopy or anaesthesia and is placed in a brief 20-minute appointment. The balloon is filled with saline and remains for approximately 4 months before passing naturally. On average people lose between 13-15kg in weight. With this package you will be offered nutritional advice and guidance as well as psychological support. We are the only service within the UK that offers psychological support as a standard part of the balloon package.

Bariatric surgery
While interventions that focus on altering nutrition and activity in combination with behaviour change have been found to result in weight loss of approximately 10%, bariatric surgery has demonstrated significantly more weight loss, as well as weight maintenance over the longer-term.
Our team meets the highest standards of recommended practice by offering a multi-disciplinary approach from surgeons, dietitians and psychologists as a standard. This is rare within private practice, and we are proud of our approach at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, providing comprehensive support with specialists in their field.

We provide the following surgeries, all performed laparoscopically using keyhole surgery:

• Gastric Bypass – this procedure involves creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach which is then connected to the small intestine. As a result, the rest of the stomach is bypassed. By doing so, it not only reduces the amount that a person is able to eat but it also changes the gut hormones which are linked to hunger and feeling of fullness. It results in rapid weight loss in the first 6-months before stabilising over time.
• Sleeve Gastrectomy – this procedure removes a large section of the stomach leaving a ‘banana-shaped’ section that is closed with staples. As with the bypass, it reduces appetite in the short-term, reduces the amount of food able to be eaten at any one time, and affects the gut hormones.
• Gastric Banding – this uses a device that is placed around the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch. It is connected to a port placed under the skin so that fluid can be added to the band to adjust the pressure. It helps to make changes to the way a person eats as well as enabling an earlier sensation of fullness.
• Revision surgery – sometimes people need to have their gastric band or sleeve revised to a gastric bypass.

Help after bariatric surgery`
Bariatric surgery is a very powerful tool for weight management, but long-term success requires a person to make changes to how, what and why they eat. We provide support for 18-months following surgery as standard, and also offer consultations for individuals who have had their surgery elsewhere.

If you would like to find out more about the options available, Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital is holding a series of free online events, at which the weight loss specialists will share insights about the treatments they offer and answer your questions:

Tuesday 8 February 6:30pm-7:30pm – ‘Understanding your eating habits’
Wednesday 9 February 6:30pm-7:30pm – ‘Weight loss and habit change with the Allurion gastric balloon’
Thursday 10 February 6:30pm-7:30pm – ‘What you need to know about bariatric surgery’

To book your place on any of these events, please contact the Enquiries team at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital by calling 0117 911 5339, or visit our website: nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/bristol; Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital 3 Clifton Hill, Bristol BS8 1BN

Featured image: Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital’s team of weight management specialists; consultant bariatric surgeon Mr Alan Osborne, consultant clinical psychologist Dr Vanessa Snowdon-Carr, dietician Dafydd Wilson-Evans, and consultant bariatric surgeon Mr James Hewes.