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Bariatric Surgery Solution to Obesity and to Boost Medical Tourism

Bariatric Surgery is the surgery done for obesity. This type of surgery is in high demand as in the US as 30% of its population is estimated to be overweight.// Bariatric Surgery in India could bring patients from US and Europe to the country.

A private hospital in Calcutta today launched a world class Bariatric surgery clinic here to treat people suffering from severe obesity, a disease that is fast attaining epidemic proportions in India.

The star-studded launch of the clinic at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals here saw at least 25 people queuing up for surgery to get rid of excessive body weight and in turn associated diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiac ailments.

The new facility, first of its kind in eastern India after sporadic attempts elsewhere in the country, is also eyeing patients from the west, where the cost of treatment is 15 per cent more and the waiting time enormous.

"The facility, being backed by a support group for obese people, is a comprehensive unit, which will benefit not only domestic patients but also thousands of patients in the Americas and Europe, who are showing interest in flying down to get operated," says advanced laparoscopic and Bariatric surgeon Dr B Ramana, who heads the clinic.

Quoting the WHO, he says 17 per cent of men and 15 per cent women in India were confirmed to be obese and the numbers were growing by leaps with changing lifestyles and eating habits.

"Globally, over 1.7 billion people are affected by the disease. In the US, over 300,000 people die of obesity while in Europe around 250,000 people are killed by the scourge," he says.

Though a systematic survey of obesity mortality has not been conducted in the country, Ramana says the numbers could be high in the next five years.

For Indians, the risk of obesity is more as the population traditionally exhibits low muscle mass, high fat content and a pot belly syndrome.
This propensity to deposit fat around the abdomen makes Indians more prone to diabetes and heart diseases. Dr.Ramana says. "Ninety per cent of adult diabetics in India are obese and Bariatric surgery offers them hope for a better living. In India, the cases of obesity are trebling every year, much faster than the western world," he says.

The surgery, wherein the stomach is stapled and stitched to a part of the small intestine, has gained popularity throughout the world as it reduces the body weight of patients by 80 per cent.

Through procedures called laparoscopic gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, where the digestive system is short-circuited to decrease absorption of fats, Bariatric surgery reduces the intake capacity of the stomach.

"This makes for lesser food intake and subsequent reduction of weight. The patient, however, is kept on essential vitamins and nutritional supplements for normal functioning of body systems," Ramana says.

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