Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Steep rise in obesity operations at Bradford hospital

Surgeons carrying out bariatrict surgery
The surgery was recently approved for those with a BMI in excess of 40

The number of people in Bradford having weight loss surgery has more than doubled in the past year, the city's hospital has said.

Bradford Royal Infirmary said it performed bariatric surgery on 37 patients last year, and that figure would rise to 100 patients this year.

The surgery involves reducing the size of the stomach through banding, cutting the amount that can be ingested.

The hospital said it was the best answer to the UK's "obesity epidemic".

The number of admissions for bariatric surgery has been increasing since it was approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence at the end of 2007.

It is available as a treatment for those with a body mass index (BMI) in excess of 40, or 35 if they have other health problems, and for whom anti-obesity drugs have not worked.

Carolyn Hoddell has lost 10 stone since having the operation

James Halstead, a bariatric surgeon at the hospital, said it was "the surgery of the future".

He told BBC News: "So far we haven't found any other way of effectively dealing with the obesity epidemic that we are facing and as a result of that I am sure that we will see, as years go by, more and more of these procedures being undertaken and more and more patients benefiting.

"Potentially 10% of the adult population could be candidates for this type of surgery, which taken locally would be a figure of some 60,000 people."

Each procedure costs £10,000, but the NHS in Bradford said it was a worthwhile investment and a solution to a medical problem that was forecast to grow in the future.

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