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Why weight loss surgery is done

Reasons for weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery may be available on the NHS if:

  • you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more
  • you have a BMI between 35 and 40 and a condition that might improve if you lost weight – these include high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, breathing problems and asthma
  • you've tried dieting, exercise and other weight loss methods, but have struggled to lose weight or keep it off
  • you agree to make healthy lifestyle changes and attend regular check-ups after surgery

If your BMI is 50 or over, surgery may be considered without needing to try other weight loss methods first.

Availability of weight loss surgery varies across areas of the UK. You can also pay for surgery privately, but this can be expensive.


If you have a South Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African or African-Caribbean family background surgery may be considered if your BMI is below 40.

Page last reviewed: 5 February 2024
Next review due: 5 February 2027