Obesity is not just a problem of excessive fat and its aesthetic implications on the human body, as many people believe, but can cause serious associated health issues like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and cardiovascular diseases, among others.
Considered a disorder exclusive to the urban elite for a long time, obesity is now emerging as a serious health concern in developing countries like India as well.
India has seen a surge in obesity. It had 0.4 million obese men, or 1.3% of the global obese population in 1975, but in 2014, it rose to the fifth position with 9.8 million obese men, or 3.7% of the global population. Among women, India has jumped to the third rank with 20 million obese women (5.3% of global population).
With rapidly changing lifestyles, improper dietary habits and absence of physical activity in our lives, a large part of the Indian population is falling into the trap of lifestyle disorders – obesity being one of them. The incidence of obesity is increasing in the country, particularly in urban areas where rising incomes have increased over the past decade.
Obesity not only affects the quality of an individual’s life, but has also been found to reduce the life span by 13-20 years. It costs the nation millions of rupees in medical expenses and lost wages due to obesity related illness.
The scientific basis to lose weight is either to restrict calorie intake through diet or burn the excess body fat through exercise and workouts.
The available options for this are:
- Diet and exercise: This can reduce the weight for a short term but more than 90% of people fail to maintain the weight loss in the long term and become obese again. This is due to hunger caused by a hunger hormone called ghrelin produced from the stomach. People weighing more than 100 kg or so cannot perform any effective exercise.
- Medicines: Till date there is no effective medication to reduce hunger or to burn the excess fat in the body.
- Liposuction: This is a cosmetic surgery to remove accumulated fat from thigh, tummy etc. to contour the body and has no health benefits. The fat will again accumulate after sometime.
In addition to the above, bariatric (weight loss) surgery is a scientifically proven and well established method of weight reduction being practiced all over the world for more than five decades. Weight loss surgery is the only permanent treatment for people who are morbidly obese.
The weight loss surgery is a key hole method to reduce the stomach size and suppress hunger by removing the hunger hormone producing area of stomach. After surgery, the amount of food (calories) intake reduces and fat deposited in the body melts. Hence, patients who have sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass operations gradually lose their excess weight and then maintain the same for life. The healthy food, lifestyle and daily exercises help maintain a disease-free body. With modern hospital care and technology, the risks associated with these operations are negligible and the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Why Columbia Asia India
- The hospital has highly skilled surgeons, multi-specialities like endocrinology, psychiatry, cardiology, support personnel and contemporary infrastructure to provide comprehensive care for obese patients.
- The operation theatre is well equipped for obesity surgery.
- Back up services like 64 slice CT, 1.5 T MRI, endoscopy, and fluroscopy. Laboratory service and round-the-clock ICU / monitoring is available.
- We have a bariatric support group to help patients and families.
Who are the patients who will benefit from bariatric surgery?
- The BMI of the patient is > 35 or > 32 .5 with co-morbid conditions.
- Multiple attempts of weight reduction through diet and exercises have failed.
- No treatable underlying endocrine disorder is found.
- No major psychiatric illness is found.
- Patient is committed to post-operative diet and lifestyle modifications.
What are the health benefits of surgery?
- In type 2 diabetics, sugar levels are known to come down after bariatric surgery and in some cases the medications are no longer needed.
- Relief of sleep apnoea is seen and hence better of quality of sleep.
- Hypertension improves and in some patients medication is no longer needed.
- Cholesterol level comes down drastically and patients can lower or stop lipid lowering medicines.
- Improvement in diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol levels has a direct effect on reducing the risk of heart diseases.
- Post-surgery patients are known to have fewer and less severe asthmatic attacks. There is increased efficiency of breathing and exercise tolerance.
- Those with gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) show relief of all symptoms of reflux within a few days.
- Stress incontinence responds dramatically to weight loss.
- Post surgery patients get tremendous relief from lower backache and joint diseases.
- Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome show a return to normal regular menstrual cycles after weight loss surgery. Further levels of fertility also show improvement.
What is the difference between liposuction and bariatric surgery?
- Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery in which localised fat is sucked out from an area like thigh or tummy. It is not a weight loss surgery and it has no health benefits. Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure in which accumulated fat from the body melts away uniformly over 4 to 6 months after the surgery and it has all the health benefits as mentioned.
Who is a bariatric surgeon?
- Will have a basic MBBS degree
- Will have a post-graduate degree in general surgery
- Will have training in bariatric and laparoscopic surgery
- Will have suitable experience
Treatments and Procedures
Types of bariatric surgery
All types of bariatric surgeries are done under general anesthesia. These are minimally invasive surgeries which require a short stay in the hospital, recovery after surgery is faster and resumption of routine activities is also possible earlier. Since such procedures are, as the name implies, minimally invasive (key hole), there is usually less loss of blood and damage to tissues, hospital stay is shorter (about 3-4 days) and no post-operative ICU stay or bed rest is required.