BAPRAS pushes for national guidelines on reconstructive surgery following bariatric weight loss procedures

2nd December 2011


On the final day of its Winter Meeting, when over 400 plastic surgeons gathered to discuss the latest innovations in reconstructive surgery, BAPRAS is calling for national guidelines to be drawn up on reconstructive ‘body contouring’ surgery following bariatric weight loss procedures.

With a growing obesity epidemic in the UK, the number of patients undergoing bariatric surgery is increasing rapidly; under NICE criteria approximately 1.5 million British adults are currently eligible for these procedures.

On average, gastric band patients will lose 50-60 percent of their excess weight and gastric bypass patients will lose 70 percent. In turn many of these patients experience massive weight loss and develop medical problems caused by excess skin. These problems can be dealt with by body contouring surgery.  However, there are currently no guidelines on the provision for this type of surgery and NHS funding is very limited.

A recent survey commissioned by BAPRAS shows that of 1,000 GPs questioned 45 percent support NHS funding for body contouring surgery. A pilot study being presented at the BAPRAS Winter Meeting by Mark Soldin, BAPRAS Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Kingston and St Georges University Teaching Hospitals, also reveals significant improvements in patients’ physical and emotional well-being once they have undergone body contouring surgery following massive weight loss.

Mark Soldin said:
“We know that excess skin following massive weight loss can lead to significant on-going problems including soreness, recurrent infections, functional problems, depression, difficulty with sexual function and poor body image.  Initial findings from our research shows that there are significant physical and emotional benefits to patients who undergo body contouring surgery to remove this skin,  and that these patients go on to lead a far more physically active and healthy lifestyle. With the growing incidence of bariatric surgery in the UK it is essential that the aftercare for patients be given greater thought.”

Speaking on behalf of BAPRAS, Professor Simon Kay, Consultant Plastic Surgeon said:  
“There is on-going discussion about whether the costs for post-bariatric reconstructive surgery should be available on the NHS and access to these procedures varies across the country. Cost-benefit evidence about bariatric surgery is now available but the patient’s long term quality of life has not been fully considered. BAPRAS is calling for national guidelines on body contouring surgery to be developed. To kick start the process, we are inviting interested parties to join us to develop the key points for consideration.”

Mark Soldin is leading an afternoon of presentations at the 2011 BAPRAS Winter Meeting joined by Dr Dennis Hurwitz from the US and Dr Alexander Stoff from Germany who will be showcasing pioneering body contouring techniques that could be introduced into the UK. Dr Dennis Hurwitz will present his unique concept of Upper Body Lifting developed to minimise scarring and a technique combining extensive liposuction with body contouring to improve sculpturing and reduce complications.

The BAPRAS Winter Meeting is being held in London from 30 November to 2 December. The meeting focuses on the latest innovations in reconstructive surgery from across the world, highlighting exemplary work carried out in 2011 and showing how plastic surgery techniques are helping patients overcome medical problems of both form and function.


Back to list page