- Obesity is (and will always be) a chronic medical disease for which an effective surgical cure has been found. Although Bariatric/Metabolic surgery may be the most momentous part of the patient’s treatment, it is by no means the most important
- When patients commit themselves to undertake Bariatric/Metabolic surgery, they are also pledging their cooperation to be monitored by the expert Bariatric/Metabolic team for life long follow up to ensure their continued good health
- It is essential that every patient becomes familiar with the broader team that will take care of their pre- and post-operative care, and not mistakenly believe that the surgeon or nutritionists alone can take care of their management.
Bariatric/Metabolic surgery is not an acceptable treatment modality when:
- The presence of mental or cognitive impairment which precludes the patient from giving informed consent to the surgery
- Severe coexisting medical conditions which may compromise the risk profile of the surgery e.g. unstable coronary artery disease or advanced liver disease with portal hypertension
Obesity has become an epidemic problem worldwide, and South Africa is no exception.
Obesity as a disease results in a:
- Decreased quality of life
- Increased cancer risk
- Increased incidence and worsening of co-morbid diseases, and therefore
- Results in significantly decreased longevity in these patients
Skepticism surrounding surgery for the management of obesity in the last century was rife but as the obesity epidemic exploded worldwide, successful long-term management became a prerequisite.
Not all obese patients seeking help are suitable surgical candidates and it requires an experienced team of qualified medical experts in obesity management to assess these patients both before and after their surgery.
Surgery done in inappropriate circumstances will result in major peri-operative complications; not only surgical but also medical, social and psychiatric problems.
These cannot be avoided completely but an experienced team dealing with more than 125 surgical cases a year will reduce these complications to a minimum. In comparison to other major surgical procedures, the mortality for Bariatric/Metabolic surgery is low.