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Health Focus
World Obesity Week - is surgery an option?
30 Oct 2017

Obesity increases the risk of developing conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea and respiratory problems. Obese individuals may also suffer from social stigma and discrimination. Dealing with obesity is a major health challenge.

Bariatric surgery can be a life-changing remedy for long standing obesity, however it is important that patients understand that it is not a magic cure. Bariatric surgery will only be considered after the patient has made serious efforts to lose weight through regular means. If a patient does undergo surgery, the procedures also require patients to change their lifestyle so they can maintain their weight loss. For the first six to 12 months after the procedure, it is vital that patients learn to eat the food that will help them maintain their weight loss and adopt a pattern of exercise to further support the benefits of surgery.


The types of surgery available include:

Gastric banding: an inflatable silicon band is placed around the top portion of the patient’s stomach, creating a small pouch which limits the amount of food they are able to eat


Vertical sleeve gastrectomy: the removal of a large portion of the stomach which restricts the amount of food the patient is able to eat


Gastric bypass (Roux en Y): a portion of the small bowel is bypassed in order to decrease the amount of food that is absorbed by the body and the isolation of a large portion of the stomach, so decreasing the amount of food the patient is able to eat


Gastric ballooning: an intragastric balloon which assists initial weight loss in a severely morbidly obese patient prior to definitive surgery which would otherwise be unsafe. It may also be used in patients who do not qualify for definitive surgery. An inflatable balloon is placed in the stomach under guidance using a gastroscope99% of procedures are performed via laparoscopic or keyhole surgery. This means that patients will experience minimal pain and will be discharged quickly from hospital. Patients will also be able to return to work or their normal activities within seven to 10 days.


Why should you consider having bariatric surgery?

Obesity is harmful to your health. If you are 40 per cent or more overweight you are twice as likely to die prematurely than an average-weight person. 


Who is eligible for bariatric surgery?


To be eligible for bariatric surgery, you must weigh no more than 200 kgs, be over sixteen years of age and be able to live and move around independently. 

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