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Weight Loss Surgery Center

Why consider surgery?

Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity. The term “bariatric” is derived from Greek roots: bar- (meaning "weight", as in barometer) with the suffix -iatric (meaning "pertaining to treatment", as in paediatric). Surgery for obesity is, therefore, called Bariatric Surgery. Since bariatric surgery is very effective to cure several diseases related to the metabolism of the body, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, it is also called Metabolic Surgery.

The indications for Bariatric Surgery were initially decided by the National Institutes of Health in the USA, in 1991. The criteria have been modified to suit Indian patients. Bariatric surgery should be given very serious consideration if BMI is more than 37.5 kg/m2. However, if a person suffers diabetes, heart disease or any other health problem described above, then obesity surgery should be considered if the BMI is more than 32.5 kg/m2. If the BMI has crossed over 50 kg/m2, then it is highly unlikely that the person will be able to bring his/her weight down to BMI less than 30 kg/m2 by non-surgical means. Persons with BMI greater than 50 kg/m2 need to accept that, without surgery, their weight will rise inexorably and that they will need to undergo surgery later (at which stage the risks may be higher) or else, sadly, they will suffer early death. Bariatric surgery in children and adolescents is currently under investigation and is not routinely recommended. Surgery is generally not recommended for persons older than 65 years.

The aim of treatment is to lose sufficient weight to significantly improve the quality of life and longevity. For most morbidly obese patients, this means a target BMI in the late 20s or early 30s. For example, a 120 kg person with a height of 1.6 meters (BMI 46.8 kg/ m2) would need to lose 43 kg in order to achieve a target BMI of 30 kg/m2. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the basic elements for weight control. However, once severe obesity has set in, very few persons can manage to lose such a large amount of weight by dieting and exercise alone. Some people do manage impressive weight loss by dieting but often regain the lost weight because very low calorie diets cannot be kept up indefinitely. Bariatric Surgery is the only treatment that has shown to give long-term, sustained weight loss. With appropriate surgery, an average of 30-40% of body weight can be lost (e.g. a 120 kg patient can lose between 35-45 kg). With committed attention to diet and exercise, even greater weight loss may be achieved.

Is there any good alternative to Bariatric Surgery?

Medication :
Various appetite-suppressant drugs have been used in the past but are now withdrawn because of the high incidence of side-effects. The only medication that is currently available for weight loss is a drug called Orlistat, which decreases the absorption of fat from the intestine. Orlistat therapy may result in loss of 5%-10% of body weight.

Intra-Gastric Balloon
A balloon is placed in the stomach by endoscopy (passing a telescope down from the mouth) and this reduces the capacity of the stomach. The balloon is a temporary weight- loss device and has to be removed after 6 months.