The most popular countries for weight loss surgery
Despite the UK’s NHS offering weight loss surgery for free, eligibility guidelines and long waiting lists mean that only a tiny percentage of the country’s obese population ever undergo treatment.
There are plenty of private clinics in the UK that specialise in gastric operations. Still, with many procedures costing up to £15,000, they remain out of the question for most patients. So what options remain for someone from the UK who requires a gastric band or sleeve?
The answer for many is to search for a clinic abroad. These days, there are plenty of safe, professional clinics worldwide that offer a superior experience to the NHS at a fraction of the cost of a private UK clinic. Here are just a few of the most popular destinations:
India has been a famous country for weight loss surgery for many years. The low cost of living makes India extremely affordable, with gastric surgeries typically costing up to 80% less than in the UK or Northern Europe. Combine those low costs with experienced surgeons and cheap over-the-counter medicines, and India appears to be a winner.
Are there any drawbacks to this destination? When flying to India from the UK or Europe, the nine-hour transit time is a considerable disadvantage – especially when one needs to return home after surgery.
With a flight time of 11 hours and a reputation for oppressive humidity, Thailand suffers many of the same disadvantages as India. Get past those negatives, though, and this popular Asian tourist destination scores highly for weight loss surgery.
Private medical care in Thailand is generally modern, efficient and professional. In addition, one could save up to 75% on the cost of surgery compared to a UK clinic. In addition to low overheads, Thailand offers several “medical tourism” style packages to entice people to have an operation there, making this beautiful holiday hotspot a solid choice for gastric surgery.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, with its scorching climate and high-end shopping, is a popular tourist destination for well-heeled Europeans. However, this Middle Eastern country has only recently become popular as a place to undergo gastric surgery.
A seven-hour flight and relatively expensive accommodation costs could potentially make the trip expensive. Still, with gastric surgery costs starting at £7,000, a decent chunk of cash can be saved compared to staying in the UK.
Many people wouldn’t consider France when planning an overseas trip for gastric surgery. However, this European option has several advantages over the UK for those unwilling or unable to fly long-haul.
The French healthcare system is considered one of the best in Europe, with private clinics also held in high regard. France is home to many highly trained surgeons, who have performed a total of 60,000 successful procedures so far.
If there’s a downside to France, it’s going to be cost. A typical surgery might cost £9,000, which isn’t dissimilar to the fee charged by a UK clinic, so those opting for treatment in France would be doing so primarily for quality rather than price.
Our final pick for overseas weight loss surgery is also one of the best. For anyone looking for a gastric sleeve in Europe to avoid lengthy flight times who can’t afford the high cost of treatment France, Latvia ticks all of the right boxes.
When it comes to the price of surgery for weight loss, Latvia is generally two thirds cheaper than the UK. But that difference is due to lower living costs rather than quality. Indeed, Latvia’s medical professionals are highly skilled and experienced, so one doesn’t have to compromise on quality by visiting this beautiful Baltic country for the operation.
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