Obesity is not only a social stigma but also the root cause of many ailments and health disorders. Reema Sehgal was well-aware of this fact, and tried very hard to lose the extra kilos. But all her attempts at dieting and exercising failed due to her highly demanding job and chaotic work hours.
A friend then suggested Bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. Curious, Reema booked a consultation with the surgeon at Sitaram Bhartia to weigh out the pros and cons of surgery. She was explained everything about Bariatric surgery during this consultation.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
“It is important to understand that bariatric surgery (or metabolic surgery) helps those suffering from obesity and related problems like type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and sleep apnea” said Dr . Amarchand S Bajaj, Senior Consultant, General Surgery.
“The surgery focuses on improving quality of life and shouldn’t be seen as a cosmetic treatment because it has a strict eligibility criteria to satisfy.”
A combination of conditions like obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and excess fat around waist is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome substantially increases the risk of several health ailments like heart diseases, stroke and other conditions affecting blood vessels. Moreover, Asians are at a greater risk of developing this syndrome.
Eligibility Criteria for Bariatric Surgery
“What are the specific criteria to get the surgery done?” Reema was eager to know.
“If the Body Mass Index (BMI) is more than 37.5 or 32.5 with co-existing or comorbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea, you would become eligible for bariatric surgery” Dr Bajaj clarified.
“Especially if you’ve tried losing weight by dieting and exercising and have been unable to do so.”
Upon calculation, Reema’s BMI came out to be higher than 37.5 which made her eligible for the surgery.
Procedure for Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery
“How is the surgery done?” Reema wanted to understand.
“We perform a laparoscopic bariatric surgery during which we would make a few smaller incisions instead of a large incision. This minimal access surgery uses advanced technology” elaborated the surgeon.
“It is done in a cosmetic way so you won’t see any sutures outside the body which makes it very aesthetically-pleasing. The surgery requires just 3 days of hospital stay and you can resume your daily commitments within a week of the surgery. “
The doctor explained the procedure and objective of the types of bariatric surgery like gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy to Reema.
After many more discussions and careful consideration, Reema decided to go ahead. Post the successful surgery, she made required lifestyle changes.
“I don’t feel as hungry as I did before, but rather more satisfied, energetic and healthier. I was scared of the surgery but learning more about it helped reduce the fear” said Reema, who had come in for her follow-up sessions with Dr Bajaj.
Reema weighed 120 kgs before surgery, of which 50 kgs was excess weight. In 2 years, Reema is expected to lose 60-80% of the extra 50 kgs.
But she’s off to a great start. “Within 6 months of surgery, I’ve lost around 20 kgs of my excess weight!” gushed Reema.
Bariatric Surgery should not be mistaken for a purely cosmetic surgery. It is a major operation that comes with its benefits but there are certain things that one should keep in mind.
This blog was written with editorial inputs from Dr . Amarchand S Bajaj, Laparoscopic, Bariatric & General Surgeon. He is known for his well-thought on medical advice and friendly nature.