It is an age-old problem that men and women around the world have battled with for a long time. While lifestyle changes and fad diets were in vogue couple a years ago for weight loss, now it is all about short cuts and quick procedures to get rid of the excess fat and trim down those bulges.
One such procedure for weight loss is Bariatric Surgery — this is where weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).
Cherry Cross spoke exclusively to the The American Surgecenter laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon Patrick Noel to know what this is all about, its relation with pregnancy, side effects and costs involved.
Shaheen Nouman, editor, Cherry Cross: Does bariatric surgery negatively affect pregnancy in any way?
Patrick Noel, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, The American Surgecenter: Obese women are three times more likely to suffer infertility than women with a normal body mass index, especially because obesity causes hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation.
Moreover, it is proven that Bariatric Surgery can help with fertility issues. Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve menstrual cyclicity in anovulatory women, which probably explains why more than 80 per cent of bariatric procedures are performed in women, and approximately half of these are performed in reproductive aged women. The increased risk of miscarriage in obese women may also decline after bariatric surgery.
Pregnancy is safe after Bariatric Surgery. However, it is highly recommended to wait a minimum of six to nine months after the surgery to conceive.
SN: It is a surgical process – are there any side effects or complications a patient should know about?
PN: It is important to note that gastric surgery is a tool to assist with significant lifestyle changes, and is the beginning and not the end of the process to achieving a healthier weight and lifestyle. Side effects of the surgery include gastroesophageal reflux, usually accompanied by heartburn.
Gastrointestinal leaking is another side effect. This occurs when sealed openings leak digestive contents into the abdomen. This however depends on the proficiency of the surgeon.
SN: How long does the entire procedure take? And how long does it take for a patient to fully recover?
PN: The duration of the bariatric surgery depends on the kind of procedure. It usually takes 20 to 60 minutes for the operation. However, with my personal skills, I usually do not exceed 20 minutes for standard procedures. Patients usually stay 1 to 2 days in the hospital, depending on the type of Bariatric Surgery performed.
The recovery time, varies with each patient. But most of my patients are able to stand and walk around after a few hours from the surgery, and can resume almost all normal daily activities few days later.
SN: How much does it cost? If it depends from case to case, can you please get an average cost?
PN: The average cost of the procedure is AED 40,000. This price includes the cost of the surgery, the hospital stay, medications and follow ups with the doctor and nutritionist.