Surgery for obesity

AL-AHLI Hospital is to launch minimal invasive (keyhole) gastric banding surgery for severely obese patients from November, it was announced yesterday.
Consultant general surgeon Dr Fritz Schafer, the head of surgery and medical director at District Hospital Bad Saulgau in Southern Germany, would be the team leader.
“There are many obese patients in Qatar and the region and the gastric banding surgery is a low-risk procedure for them,” he said.
Al-Ahli Hospital’s consultant general and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Fawzi Jadallah, consultant and international relations manager Dr Abd Elhalim E Bakri, and public relations manager Safa Abulrshaid, were also present on the occasion.
Dr Schafer, who started doing keyhole surgery of the knee joint in 1979, did his first gastric banding surgery in 1992, and has done more than 800 cases of gastric banding ever since.
“An experienced team and proper facilities are essential for such surgeries and Al-Ahli Hospital has both,” stated Dr Schafer who did gastric banding on a Qatari patient in 1997 in Germany.
Dr Schafer and his team would be using the Lap-Band System, which involves laparoscopically placing an inflatable band around the upper part of the stomach.
“The new, small upper stomach pouch and a narrowed outlet limit the stomach capacity and increase the feeling of fullness,” the German surgeon said while pointing out that the following reduction in food intake results in weight loss.
The Lap-Band System is an adjustable and reversible obesity surgery. It eliminates many risks of procedures such as gastric bypass or stomach stapling.
“Once implanted, the band can be tightened or loosened (through an access port placed under the skin at a particular spot), in an outpatient setting in a matter of minutes,” Dr Schafer explained.
Dr Jadallah pointed out that patients undergoing the surgery should also be committed to adopt a new lifestyle to maintain long-term weight loss.
“New eating habits must be adhered to for the rest of the life, and exercise is an equally important component of a changed lifestyle,” he maintained.
Giving an example of expected weight loss, Dr Schafer said that if the patient adopts a proper diet after the gastric banding procedure, about 50% of the excess weight could be reduced in one year.
The Lap-Band System is advised for patients above 18 years, who are at least 45kgs more than the ideal weight, overweight for more than five years, and whose serious weight loss attempts have had only short-term success..

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