Society needs to understand that bariatric surgery is not plastic surgery, it is a metabolic one.
Obesity in the UAE is on the rise due to sedentary lifestyle and disposable income.
Are you one of those people who struggle to lose weight despite trying out various diets and gyms? Sharjah resident Rosamma took a bank loan to fund her bariatric surgery. The professional in her mid-30s, having tried all methods, was under constant pressure to lose weight. She finally decided to take the surgical route.
While scepticism to go under the knife to lose weight is a debatable topic, experts point out that society needs to understand that bariatric surgery is not plastic surgery, it is a metabolic one.
An exponential increase in the number of bariatric surgeries has been observed in the UAE as residents consider it as a viable option for fighting obesity, diabetes among other reasons for weight gain.
Dr Abhay Ramakant Khadke, specialist general surgery, Aster Hospital Mankhool, said: "Obesity in the UAE is on the rise due to sedentary lifestyle and disposable income. Obesity surgery is appropriately placed to face the menace and can be termed as elixir considering its long-term benefits."
Sharjah resident, SM, a professional in the late 30s opted for the surgery as staying fit was the goal. "Prior to taking the crucial decision, I had a series of counselling sessions. The basic mindset has to be clear that it is a life-altering decision and a careful view needs to be taken before the plunge."
Dr Anup Kumar Panigrahi, specialist and head of department, minimal access surgery at the RAK Hospital, said: "People are now looking for faster ways to shed the extra kilos. They no longer regard the procedure as cosmetic; rather it is a quick route to getting rid of ailment that is known to give birth to other diseases."
Use of social media in spreading awareness on the benefits this surgery and concerted effort of various hospitals in UAE in promoting bariatric surgery as an option have led to the rise in trend.
Dr Uday Shankar, specialist general surgeon, Zulekha Hospital Dubai, said: "The standardisation of requirements for bariatric surgery and hospital infrastructure by the local healthcare authorities have instilled confidence about safety of these procedures, also greater awareness among general population about the ill effects of 'diabesity' which is a combination of obesity and diabetes."
Endorsing a similar view, Dr Ali Al Dameh, consultant general surgeon at the American Hospital Dubai, said: "Metabolic and weight loss surgery is a great tool and solution for those who have tried diet and exercise yet failed to maintain a healthy weight."
Dr Hussam Trabulsi, specialist bariatric surgeon at the Medcare Hospital, points out that despite the increase of the number of surgeries over the last 10 years, we are yet to deliver the bariatric service for the people in need. "I think we are utilising this service only for 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the people. We need to send a message that by going through this procedure, one can live better."
Six months waiting time for bariatric surgeries at Dubai Hospital
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently revealed that the Dubai Hospital had conducted 1,400 bariatric surgeries in the last four years. The hospital reported that less than one per cent of the patients suffered from side effects causing the appointments for bariatric surgery at the hospital booked for six months.
Dr Zaid Abdul Aziz Al Mazimi, consultant and head of bariatric surgery department, Dubai Hospital, said the DHA provided all necessary support for doctors to conduct surgeries that are on par with the international standards. The services include sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and complicated cases referred from other hospitals.
Who should opt for a bariatric surgery?
You may go under the knife if you have:
>A Body Mass Index of 40 or above, or more than 100 pounds overweight
>A Body Mass Index of 35 or above and at least one or more obesity-related co-morbidities such as type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and other respiratory disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, lipid abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders, or heart disease
>Inability to achieve a healthy weight loss with prior efforts
Source: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery