Obesity is prevalent among both adults and children. It exists both among the prosperous sections of the society and the poor alike.

Most people think of getting treatment for obesity when they are about to get married or when they develop co-morbid conditions. They seek the advice of bariatric surgeons to get weight loss.

Therefore, bariatric surgeons are commonly known as weight-loss surgeons, according to Dr Neha Shah, Weight Loss Specialist of Glenagels Global Hospital, Chennai.

She made this observation while delivering a speech on the “New Aspects of Bariatric Surgery” in the Special Continuing Medical Education programme organized by KG Hospital in the hospital Auditorium on Friday, 16th of February 2018. KG Hospital Chairman Dr G.Bakthavathsalam presided over the session.

Dr Neha said that obesity could be controlled through lifestyle modifications, changing the food pattern and doing regular exercises. Even after following these regimens, if weight loss does not occur then it will call for medical or surgical intervention.

BMI acts as yardstick

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the indicator for knowing normal weight and obesity. If BMI is less than 25, it is normal weight, if BMI is between 25-30 it is overweight, and if BMI is above 30 it is obesity. Obesity can further be categorized on the basis of BMI as Class 1 (30 <35), Class 2 (35 < 40) and Class 3 (40 and above).

Dr Neha said that there are varieties of bariatric surgeries and the most common are (1) endoscopic surgery in which gastric balloon is put in the stomach to reduce the space for food, and (2) laparoscopic surgery through which the stomach is clipped to acquire a tubular form so as to reduce the quantum of food intake.

Gastric bypass is yet another procedure in which the small intestine is cut and attached directly to the upper portion of the stomach.

To prove her point that obesity is common among children, Dr Neha mentioned about her treating a 13-year-old girl weighing 138 kg who lost 10 kg within a month.

Dr Neha emphasized the point that even after getting medical or surgical treatment, the patients ought to be on the guard about their lifestyle, food habit and physical activity throughout their life; more so for those with the genetic tendency towards obesity.

Dr Prabhu Das Santhanam, another Weight-loss Specialist of Glenagels Global Hospital, Chennai, spoke on the topic “Bariatric surgery—Newer trends.”  He said that obesity would impact fertility and aggravate diabetics. Therefore, metabolic surgery also forms part of bariatric treatment. He further said that another important aspect of bariatric treatment is that it depends mainly on trust in the specialist.

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