The number of weight-loss surgeries in India has shot from 200 in 2004 to a whopping 20,000 in 2019

Late last month, the Obesity Surgery Society of India reported that there has been a 100-fold increase in weight-loss surgeries in India in just 15 years.

Myupchar September 13, 2019 13:10:48 IST
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The number of weight-loss surgeries in India has shot from 200 in 2004 to a whopping 20,000 in 2019
  • Late last month, the Obesity Surgery Society of India reported that there has been a 100-fold increase in weight-loss surgeries in India in just 15 years

  • During this period, the number of specialised bariatric surgeons has also increased from eight in 2003 to 450 now

  • The surgery usually involves binding, stapling or removing a section of the stomach, so it can hold less food than before

Late last month, the Obesity Surgery Society of India reported that there has been a 100-fold increase in weight-loss surgeries in India in just 15 years - clinical data show that the number of surgeries has gone up from 200 in 2004 to 20,000 in 2019.

During this period, the number of specialised bariatric surgeons has also increased from eight in 2003 to 450 now. New Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra accounted for most of the bariatric surgeries so far.

The number of weightloss surgeries in India has shot from 200 in 2004 to a whopping 20000 in 2019

Representational image. Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Bariatric surgery or weight-loss surgery works by making the stomach smaller. Doctors usually prescribe this procedure for patients who are at high risk of getting obesity-linked chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, joint pain, sleep apnea and heart disease. Sometimes surgeons also change the morphology (form) of the small intestine during the operation, increasing the risk of nutritional deficiencies in the body.

Growing obesity

The consistent increase in bariatric surgeries parallels the trend of growing obesity. According to a recent survey — 'Prevalence of obesity in India: A systematic review' — published in the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome, more than 135 million people in India are affected by obesity.

Bariatric surgery is a treatment alternative for patients suffering from morbid obesity. On the website of one of America’s most well-known hospitals, Mayo Clinic, medical practitioners warn that gastric bypass — the most common type of bariatric surgery in the U.S. — is for people who have a body mass index or BMI or 40 or a disease such as type 2 diabetes in addition to a BMI between 35 and 35.9. (BMI is weight to height ratio.)

To put this in context, a woman who is 5 feet 6 inches tall would have to weigh over 112 kilos to qualify.

What is bariatric surgery

Rather than a quick gateway to weight loss, bariatric surgery is a serious medical procedure - usually, doctors suggest it after the patient has failed to lose weight by other means, such as physical exercise and diet control.

The surgery usually involves binding, stapling or removing a section of the stomach, so it can hold less food than before.

After the surgery, patients have to make some changes to their lifestyle. For example, they have to eat less. If the surgeon removes some part of their intestine as well as the stomach, then they can also develop problems like malabsorption syndrome.

“This is not a replacement for lifting weights in the gym if you are 5, 10 or 15 kilos overweight. Even if you say that the procedure rarely leads to complications like haemorrhages, leaks, gastroesophageal reflux disease; zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B deficiency are quite common in people who have had weight-loss surgery,” said Dr Shahnaz Zafar, a medical practitioner associated with myUpchar.com. “One has to take supplements for life,” she added.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more about the effects of obesity on health, please visit Obesity: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment.

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