New Rules To Tackle Excess Skin Op 'Lottery'

Gerard Tubb, North of England Correspondent

A woman who says she has almost two stone (12 kilos) of spare skin after losing more than half her body weight is supporting new national guidelines for corrective surgery.

Kerry Trotter, 39, wants a body contouring operation to remove excess skin on her stomach, arms and legs after a gastric bypass helped reduce her weight from 27 stone (171 kilos) four years ago to 11 stone (70 kilos) today.

"It hangs, it stops you from doing things," she explained at home in Penshaw, County Durham.

"It affects your self-confidence, you don't want to do certain things because you know it's there, it moves, it's not easy."

Kerry says a hospital appointment to assess her for surgery was cancelled because it had been decided she didn't fit the eligible criteria for surgery in her area.

Consultant plastic surgeon Mark Soldin from the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), says a postcode lottery has prevented people who have lost a lot of weight from getting the help they need.

"I've seen many patients whose lives have been transformed through receiving body contouring reconstructive plastic surgery," he said.

"However, there are many other people who, simply due to their postcode, are denied this procedure and are left to deal with the huge physical and psychological problems caused by excess skin."

New guidelines on who should get help, accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, are being introduced from Tuesday for hospitals across England.

They follow research showing many hospitals have no procedures in place for weight-loss patients who need corrective surgery, despite the problem causing significant health concerns.

A study of 67 primary care trusts in England showed 23 excluded any reference to body contouring procedures, while patients denied the treatment were more likely to suffer a range of problems including depression and an increased chance of putting weight back on.

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