Bariatric Surgery: Last option or Best choice?
Obesity in the present times is a globally growing health menace. Once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are on an alarming rise in low- and middle-income countries as well nowadays. Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) are obese and the numbers are increasing with every passing year. Based on data from the 2007 National Family Health Survey, it is found that in India every 5th person is either overweight or obese and about 5% of the Indian population is suffering from morbid obesity (body mass index of 35 or more while the normal is between 18 and 23).
Obesity is a state of silent self-destruction with symptoms that build slowly over an extended period of time. It increases the risk of a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, breathing problems, joint pain, infertility, high cholesterol levels in blood, high blood pressure and cancers like breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, etc. It’s much easier to tackle a weight problem in the early stages, but people are largely indifferent when they put on one or two kilos. These minor gains are a crucial turning point. “The idea is to take quick measures to stop the weight gain and not wait to cross a limit to take action,” advises Dr Pankaj Hans, a leading Bariatric surgeon.
Bariatric surgery is emerging as a novel mode of managing the menace of obesity, particularly for the people who has lost hope of getting rid of their extra kilos and have been disappointed by the other traditional methods of weight loss. Extremely obese persons often do not benefit from the more conservative treatments for weight loss and weight maintenance. Although this method was available for the past 60 years, but with laparoscopy, bariatric surgery has become minimally invasive making it a safe and preferred procedure. It has been proven to be more effective in the management of morbid obesity as compared to medical treatments and many patients are being benefitted by it in terms of excessive weight loss and improvement of co-morbid conditions like diabetes. In a recent research, it has been found that it helps to reduce the risk of cancers by 33% in women particularly.
There are many types of Bariatric surgery procedures; depending on patient’s needs, associated diseases and patient’s profile, different surgeries are offered to different patients.
Let us get acquainted with the facts against the prevailing myths among the people regarding bariatric surgery.
Myth 1: Bariatric surgery is like liposuction surgery (cosmetic surgery) in which excessive fat is removed from body and it is a surgery to makes you more beautiful.
Fact: Bariatric surgery is a metabolic surgery which is done by laparoscopic technique and in which either the capacity of stomach is reduced or an intestinal bypass is created by cutting and stapling it with advanced equipments. After this surgery patient usually losses 70-80% of their excess weight gradually in a time frame of 18-24 months and resolution of many metabolic diseases occur as mentioned earlier.
Myth 2: Bariatric surgery is a very dangerous surgery with many complications and side effects.
Fact: Bariatric surgery is as safe as other routinely performed laparoscopic surgeries done for gall bladder stones, appendicitis and hernia. It is done by laparoscopic technique by using advanced equipments. Before doing surgery patient is evaluated and completely optimized by a team of bariatric surgeon, physicians, dietician, endocrinologists and anaesthetist to minimize the surgical risk and to improve the outcome. As this surgery is done by laparoscopic technique so patient experiences minimal pain and usually patient get discharge from the hospital after 3-4 days of surgery and most of the patients are able to resume their work after 2 weeks of surgery.
Myth 3: Bariatric surgery is to be offered only to critically ill obese patients.
Fact: Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for long term weight management of obesity. In Indian obese patients it is recommended for patients with BMI more than 37.5Kg/m² if not associated with any other co-morbid conditions or to patients with BMI more than 32.5 Kg/m² with associated other diseases like diabetes etc. It is always better that Bariatric surgery should be done at an early stage before developing obesity related chronic diseases and their complications.
A healthy body is a right of every individual and bariatric surgery is definitely your best bet in ditching those too many extra kilos. It can help you not only flaunting a beautiful body but a chance to lead a better quality of disease-free life full of confidence and acceptance in the society.