x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Stomach reduction should be surgery of last resort

Bariatric surgery is no quick fix for a long-term solution.

Stomach surgery is no quick fix to a weight problem. Anyone who's gone under the knife for a bariatric operation will tell you that nausea, vomiting and long-term complications are very real side effects to stapling your stomach.

More importantly, the surgery is a last resort for patients who have no other choice. It is not, as we reported this week, for people who "don't want to bother with diet or exercise and just want an easy way out", says Dr Khaled al Jabari, the chief of endocrinology at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

As levels of diabetes and obesity rise in the Emirates, it is going to become increasingly necessary to emphasise preventative measures to obesity, such as good nutrition, exercise, a healthy diet. Even counselling or alternative therapy methods such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy can go a long way in helping some patients.

While bariatric surgery may prove necessary for the most difficult of cases, endorsing the procedure before endorsing other methods of treatment sends the wrong signal to patients. The medical community's first credo is "do no harm". By offering a difficult surgery as an easy option, health experts may be doing just the opposite.