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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 12 August
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 12 August 2008
Surgeons in an operating theatre

Full programme transcript >>

Bariatric Surgery

In this week's episode of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter investigates bariatric, or weight loss, surgery for people who are morbidly obese.

It is a controversial area, but many clinicians argue that this type of operation is much under-used in the UK.

Mark visits St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester - one of the few centres of excellence for bariatric treatment in this country.

He meets Yasmin who has struggled with obesity all her adult life. After more than a decade of trying every diet in the book, she managed to lose nearly 10 stone in nine months after having major surgery to staple her stomach. 

At the hospital Mark also meets psychotherapists who assess the mental state of everyone who is referred for bariatric surgery to make sure they are prepared for such life-changing surgery.

And he speaks to Guy Slater, consultant gastointestinal surgeon at St Richard’s Hospital.

Mr Slater describes the two main types of operation, both of which work by dramatically reducing the size of the patient’s stomach so they feel full quickly and don’t want to, or can’t eat as much.

Laparoscopic gastric banding works by placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach to create a pouch, which fills up quickly and allows the food to pass slowly through a gap in the band.

Gastric bypass surgery also involves creating a smaller stomach, but part of the bowel is stapled as well to make the digestive system shorter, meaning less food is absorbed into the body.

There are thought to be at least a million people in England and Wales alone who meet the criteria for bariatric treatment suggested by NICE yet just 3000 operations are likely to be carried out by fewer than 30 surgeons during the current financial year. 

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