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Bariatric surgery emerging as viable option for obese patients

Special Correspondent

 At the moment, the success rates in excess of 90 per cent here are better than those in the West 

CHENNAI: Bariatric surgery, or the gastric bypass, is emerging as a viable treatment option for type II diabetes in obese patients here, according to data with Lifeline Hospitals.
Though the scale of patients opting for bariatric surgery is minuscule in India when compared to the numbers in the developed countries (about 2 lakh annually in the U.S. alone), the body of evidence about the positive results of the surgery is definitely growing, J.S. Rajkumar, chairman, Lifeline Group of Hospitals told a press conference on Friday.
"At the moment, the success rates in excess of 90 per cent here are better than those in the West because patient selection is a cautious exercise," Dr. Rajkumar said.
Lifeline Hospitals has conducted over 250 bariatric surgeries, including 46 diabetics and the results have been published in the Asian Journal of Diabetology.
The indicators for a bariatric procedure include a Body Mass Index above 32.5 coupled with any risk factor such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and triglycerides. The procedure involves laparoscopic intervention to restructure the anatomy of the stomach and intestine and serving the dual purpose of weight reduction and metabolic correction.
In other words, bariatric surgery affects the patients' metabolic profile by juggling the various hormones that are produced in the gastro intestinal tract and this is why diabetes correction happens much quicker than actual weight reduction.
"On an average in about two weeks after procedure, the patients' diabetes goes into remission. Long-term follow-up studies have shown that the effect remains so in 80 per cent of the cases even after a period of 25 years," said Dr. Rajkumar.
Ravi Bopanna, a patient who underwent bariatric surgery, said he considered the surgical option as a last resort.
Once a morbidly obese patient, he could not stand still for more than a moment and while on the bed he needed assistance to turn over from one side to other.
With his weight down from an unwieldy 157 kg to 74 kg, he follows a normal diet and walks 4 km as exercise every day, he said.
Arul (48) said the combination of obesity and diabetes had made his life most wretched.
After the surgery, his weight has come down from 130 kg to 92 kg and he is able to lead a normal life.

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