Talk to anyone who has spent years battling with their weight and you soon understand the mental as well as physical burden that they carry around. Whether the excess weight comes from poor eating habits, unsuccessful diets, failed exercise plans or underlying health problems, those suffering from obesity often feel a deep sense of failure, have a reduced quality of life and can face prejudice and discrimination.
The good news is that there is help and advice available, particularly for those who are obese or morbidly obese and for whom non-surgical methods haven’t worked. Here at Spire Washington Hospital and the Spire Newcastle Clinic in Jesmond, we have a range of experienced specialists who work with patients to consider their circumstances in order to find a solution that will have the long-term, positive effect required.
From preliminary procedures such as gastric balloon insertion to permanent procedures, which include adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, there are a variety of options to choose from. Nevertheless, as our staff are quick to point out, weight-loss surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly because it is not an easy fix (ongoing care and effort is required) nor is it risk free. That said, the right procedure can transform a person’s life and we work hard to ensure that any prospective patient understands exactly what their chosen process entails so they are fully informed at every step of the way.
To ensure this is the case we have a number of services in place. Patients can book multiple consultations with our surgeons and we also offer weight loss evenings once a month at which our surgeons and dieticians hold a question and answer session for anyone thinking about surgery. This is complemented by a monthly support group attended by patients who have actually been operated on – the perfect forum for those who want to know what the experience was like and the pros and cons from a personal level.
Having had a gastric bypass, Dianne Sharp from Houghton-le-Spring is one patient who can talk very positively about her experience. Managing director of expanding pharmaceutical business SCM Pharma in Prudhoe, Dianne needed to know what her options were and exactly how much time she’d require away from work.
Dianne said: “A hip replacement five years ago meant I was restricted with what I could do exercise-wise and despite having lost 6 stone prior to the operation, this soon came back - and more. I knew that if I was to keep the hip in good condition and have a good quality of life I had to do something so decided to check out surgical options because dieting just wasn’t working.
“I’d been to Spire Washington Hospital before so I was confident of the facilities and level of care available and research showed Mr Small, a consultant there, came highly recommended, which made the decision of where and who much easier.
“Determining the actual solution was actually straight forward too – although I’d originally considered a gastric band, the discussions and information provided helped me realise that gastric bypass surgery would ultimately provide a more appropriate long-term solution and I haven’t looked back since. Being able to book each step around my work and personal commitments was a huge relief and made the whole process much easier to manage.
“Post the operation I had a few complications (although unusual, always a risk), so I got to see every aspect of the service on offer. Mr Small and the team were on hand at all hours and the care really was of the highest quality. As far as I’m concerned the hospital comes highly recommended and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
According to guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the risks of surgery are thought to be outweighed by the benefits. Regardless, here at Spire our focus is always on what is best for the patient and their physical and emotional wellbeing so the final choice and outcome has to be what is suitable for each individual. The team is always on hand to chat through the options – what you can be sure of is that if you want to make a change in your life, we’re with you all the way.
For more information, please visit www.spirehealthcare.com/washington.