Bariatric surgery on the rise

It is offered as an option for a host of problems, including diabetes, triggered by obesity

Among the reasons for obesity, Bengaluru doctors say, are fast foods and physical inactivity. (Image for representation)

In the last 10 years, Bengaluru has witnessed a 50 per cent increase in bariatric surgeries, doctors say. Increased awareness, coupled with a rise in diabetes and obesity among Bengalureans, has led to an interest in bariatric procedures, says Dr Nanda Rajaneesh, breast and obesity surgeon, Sakra World Hospital.

She says obesity is now widely observed among five to 30-year-olds, assumed to be active. The reasons are that they are eating fast foods like noodles, and becoming physically inactive because of their digital obsession, she says.

“The number of people who people don’t eat on time, and end up eating big meals at irregular times, has increased tremendously. There is a shift in hormones and deficiencies like Vitamin D are also to blame for obesity,” he says.

After crossing the 35-year-old mark it is not easy to lose weight, which is when bariatric surgeries are suggested. “The surgery reduces one’s capacity to eat and increases the burning of food. After reaching a particular weight, it is difficult to cut it down with gymming. This is where bariatric procedures step in,” she says.

Doctors were earlier scared to operate on older patients who suffered morbidity or breathing problems, but literature across the world has proved that bariatric surgeries can solve many health issues. There is an increasing awareness among anaesthetics, nutritionists, and endocrinologists now about the surgeries, she says.

Dr Sathish N, senior consultant (minimal access and metabolic surgeries), Columbia Asia Hospital, attributes the increase in bariatric procedures to awareness about the benefits.

“The surgeries are better referred to as metabolic surgeries, which are done to cure diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, lower backache, and help young girls suffering from infertility and PCOD. These surgeries are also helping patients who consult an orthopaedic doctor for knee replacement and have to wait for the surgery because they are obese,” he says.

Metabolic surgeries are on the rise among patients with diabetes or those with metabolic syndrome. “In 100 bariatric surgery cases, around 30 are metabolic surgeries. The long-term ill effects of many conditions can be cut off by such this corrective surgery; in diabetes, the surgery can delay or minimise chances of peripheral neuropathy and chronic kidney diseases,” says Dr Satish.

Dr Kiran K J, consultant (laparoscopic and gastro surgeon), Apollo Hospitals, says the procedure is still mistaken to be cosmetic in nature. In the West, many insurance companies consider these surgeries for coverage, he says.

“It is a treatment protocol for morbid obesity and associated complications like diabetes, COPD, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. In our country, most people don’t understand that once morbid obesity is treated, comorbidities can also be treated,” he says.

“There are various bariatric procedures which include gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass. The effectiveness of treating diabetes is more sustained and long-lasting with the gastric bypass procedure. The procedure is done more now.” Proper counselling should be a standard procedure for patients undergoing such surgery, he says.

What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery can include a variety of procedures that are performed on people with obesity. The motive of the procedures is to achieve weight loss which is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach or removing a portion of it.

‘Cost more than Rs 3 lakh’
“The surgeries cost from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh. Most of the money is spent on special instruments made of titanium. The readymade kits are imported as they are not made in India.” Dr Nanda Rajaneesh, breast and obesity surgeon, Sakra World Hospital.

More about bariatric surgery

  • Is still considered cosmetic in nature.
  • Insurance companies in India don’t cover bariatric surgeries.
  • Many assume after bariatric surgery, one can be fit and in perfect health. A nutritional imbalance happens post-surgery and must be handled carefully.

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Bariatric surgery on the rise

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