St George Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Bariatric Surgery

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Obesity now outstrips smoking as the most preventable cause of premature death - and bariatric surgery has been found to be the only solution to achieve major and durable weight loss according to a Medical Journal of Australia report.

St George Private is Australia’s highest volume bariatric hospital and strongly recognised as a leader in bariatric surgery.

It is also Australia’s first internationally accredited Centre of Bariatric Excellence – as recognised by the Surgical Review Corporation, which accredits Centres of Excellence around the world.

Our hospital performs more than 650 bariatric procedures every year, with many patients resolving or significantly reducing obesity-related issues after surgery, including Type-II diabetes, sleep apnoea, arthritis and asthma.

Obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including:

  • Musculo-skeletal problems
  • Cardiovascular disease & stroke
  • Some cancers
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Type 2 diabetes (one of the six National Health Priority areas)
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)

Australian Gov Dept of Health (2009)

Here are some common bariatric procedures we perform at St George Private Hospital.

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Tube Gastrectomy)

A Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure involves removing the lateral 2/3rds of the stomach along the inner curve and leaving behind only a sleeve (much smaller than the natural stomach). This restricts the amount of food eaten before the sleeve distends, creating a feeling of fullness. This is the most rapidly growing bariatric procedure in Australia and offers long term results with minimal complications. The procedure is not reversible.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

An Adjustable gastric banding procedure, a hollow band made of special material is placed around the stomach near its upper end, creating a small pouch and a narrow passage into the larger remainder of the stomach. The band is then inflated with a salt solution. It can be tightened or loosened over time to change the size of the passage by increasing or decreasing the amount of salt solution.

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

In Gastric Bypass procedure, a small stomach pouch is created to restrict food intake. Next, a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This bypass reduces the absorption of nutrients and thereby reduces the calorie intake.

Revision Surgery

For people who underwent obesity surgery in the 80s and 90s and who have not managed to achieve or maintain their weight-loss goals. It is also performed in patients who experienced previous complications from weight-loss surgery. Revision surgery converts one procedure to another procedure which may be more suitable for the patient. In 95 per cent of cases this can be done laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) or robotically. “Re-do” surgery is typically more complicated and involves more complications. For this reason cautious assessment and consultation is required for all patients considering this option.

  • By 2025 more than 80 per cent of Australians will be overweight or obese according to the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute. 
  • As a result of the obesity epidemic, the number of Australians undergoing bariatric surgery has increased from 500 in 1988 to 17,000 per year in recent decades 

Australian Gov Dept of Health (2009)

Speak to your doctor about surgery if:

  • Your BMI is more than 30
  • You have a BMI between 25 and 30 plus health problems linked to weight such as sleep apnoea, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arthritis
  • Your BMI or waist circumference is increasing in between GP visits
  • You have a waist size of 80cm or more for women and 94cm or more for men
  • You have diabetes related to obesity. In more than 80 per cent of cases this can be resolved or reduced post-surgery

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  • Find out your BMI and gain an understanding of what it means
  • Find out the health consequences
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  • Your risk of premature death and obesity-related illness reduces dramatically.
  • Obesity surgery reduces and often resolves symptoms of obesity-related sleep apnoea, arthritis and diabetes.
  • Cancer risk reduces too, with obesity now a significant risk factor for many cancers.
  • You will embark on a healthier lifestyle with regular follow-up, improved diet and exercise programs.
  • You will lose significantly amounts of weight, commonly 60 to 70kg.
  • You will feel better about your appearance and self-confidence.

If your partner or a loved one is significantly obese you can broach the subject of surgery by using the following tips GPs use on their patients. Click on the image below

Talking to patients about weight

In 2012 and again in 2015, we were awarded the title of Bariatric Surgery Centre of Excellence after undergoing a rigorous audit process. So far no other Australasian hospital has achieved this goal.

Bariatric Centre of Excellence (BCOE)

BCOE accreditation has been awarded to St George Private Hospital after an audit and inspection process by an International Accrediting body (the Surgical Review Corporation) – the biggest surgical organization for the specialty in the world.

Accreditation is only offered to hospitals where surgeons and staff work together to provide the highest level of care including;

  • High caseload
  • 24 hour cover and support for patients in and out of hospital
  • Support group meetings for patients post-procedure
  • ICU and X-Ray/CT availability 24/7
  • Prospective audit and monitoring of long-term outcomes.

As well as maintaining certification as a Bariatric Centre of Excellence, a four-year audit of almost 2500 patients was presented at a recent international scientific meeting showing a major complication rate of 0.5%, which makes St George Private Hospital almost unmatched in the world for safety with this type of complex surgery.

Patients undergoing bariatric surgery at St George private Hospital can feel reassured that the low risks they take having surgery are preferable to the significant risks and disability that obesity causes.

Most people are aware for example that many patients with diabetes will within a decade of diagnosis go on to develop kidney failure, eye disease, leg ulcers, heart disease or stroke. However, they do not know that these same patients if offered bariatric surgery can have up to an 80% chance of having their diabetes go into complete remission.

Australia wide, in keeping with the international trend, the increasing recognition that bariatric surgery provides excellent treatment for diabetes, sleep apnoea and the physical problems associated with obesity has led to consistent demand for surgery.

Today about 15000 bariatric operations per year are performed in Australia.

St George Private Hospital remains a strong and internationally recognised leader in this field.

Bariatric Specialists