After much consideration and research, I opted to have the Gastric Sleeve.
The reason I chose the sleeve was largely due to the lifestyle element it offered after the operation.
My job involves a lot of travel and business events that involve dinners etc and I felt that the sleeve offered the most normal way of eating, albeit in tiny amounts. The sleeve procedure also removes the area of the stomach where the hunger hormone - Ghrelin is produced, therefore, you don't feel hunger and almost have to remind yourself to eat. I didn't want the gastric bypass as I couldn't risk having dumping syndrome, nor did I want to worry about eating the odd slider food. I was also really concerned about the level of malabsorption that the comes with the bypass - with both the sleeve and the bypass, this is an issue but is more of a concern with the bypass and I was concerned about my vitamin levels and the risk of hair loss post surgery.
Whilst the sleeve does come with the risk of having a leak along the staple line, the percentage of people who have had a leak is very low and if you opt for a reputable surgeon and heed the advice from the bariatric team - the chances of a problem are very low.
I would recommend the gastric sleeve to people who are looking to lead as normal life as possible, I am able to eat relatively normally but in very small portions. I am really pleased I chose this procedure and have absolutely no regrets over my decision.
If I have one piece of advice to anyone considering bariatric surgery it would be to do your research on the clinic, the surgeon and the team, make sure you speak to people who have had experience of that team and don't opt for the cheapest package/place.
This is major surgery that affects the rest of your life, making a decision based on cost could have far-reaching consequences.
Reputable clinics/surgeons have support groups and information evenings that are free of charge to attend prior to you making a decision about having the operation and mean you can meet other patients who have had procedures under that surgeon and discuss their experiences, along with meeting the full team including the surgeon himself. This is imperative for you as a patient because it allows you to speak to a number of different people about the procedures they chose, why they chose them and their overall experience, thus allowing you to make an educated and informed a decision about your next steps.
In my opinion, having my procedure done at the Spire, with Simon as my surgeon was worth every single penny and is an exceptional value. This is a life changing decision and one you cannot afford to make lightly. Research and meeting the team and their patients are absolutely essential.
I was fortunate enough to have my procedure at The Spire hospital - Gatwick, under the surgeon Simon Monkhouse and his Bariatric team.
After a lot of research on private clinics and surgeons, The Spire Group came recommended to me.
When I met with Sarah one of the bariatric nurses to discuss my options, her level of knowledge and her advice based on the explanation of my lifestyle, gave me a lot of confidence. Her son also had a gastric sleeve procedure under Simon which gave me further reassurance.
When I met with Simon to discuss the operation itself and make sure I was making the right decision in terms of the sleeve v bypass, he was extremely candid and open with me about the pro's and cons of each procedure. He explained both in great detail and went through the reasons for my decision carefully in order to ensure I was making the correct choice. Again, his experience, his honesty and his understanding reassured me that I was making the correct decision.
The Spire package was not the cheapest option but it was the most inclusive of all the private options I had explored (many private options have a lot of hidden costs) offering 2 years of all inclusive care and support, along with a dietitian and also an assessment with a psychologist to make sure that I was doing this for all of the right reasons.
Simon's team (including Simon himself) offer around the clock care, his nurses are always available to answer any questions and their level of personal care is phenomenal. They know each and every one of their patients so well and understand the individual circumstances of each.
I literally could not fault Simon and his team and I feel privileged to have been able to have my operation performed by an exceptional surgeon and his exceptional team.
I know many people opt for surgery abroad as it is cheaper, however, following my operation, I could only think how glad I was that I chose to have it in the UK and with such an amazing surgeon.
I am now 6 weeks post-op and have had no problems whatsoever... my weight loss is good, I am eating well, I have got no medical problems as a result of the operation and I am still receiving constant after care from the team at the Spire.
I literally cannot fault my entire experience and my only regret is not having done this sooner.