THE BARIATRIC SURGERY CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE AT MEDICLINIC BLOEMFONTEIN IS ONE OF A FEW SASSO ACCREDITED CENTRES IN SOUTH AFRICA.
BARIATRIC SURGERY, ALSO KNOWN AS WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY, IS AN OPTION FOR PATIENTS WITH OBESITY WHO FAIL TO LOSE WEIGHT THROUGH CONVENTIONAL DIET AND EXERCISE PROGRAMMES AND WHO SUFFER FROM RELATED HEALTH ISSUES.
The procedure is considered to be a life-changing, as well as a life-saving, intervention. It helps to prolong life expectancy and improve the quality of life for patients that battle with morbid obesity and metabolic syndrome. The procedure significantly reduces co-morbid conditions, resulting in less obesity related deaths.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE PROCEDURE
All prospective patients are subject to an intensive screening programme, but initial indications are:
- Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher (extreme obesity)
- BMI >35, with serious weight-related co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis and metabolic syndrome
– Sustained efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise programmes have been unsuccessful
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM APPROACH
Prior to surgery, prospective patients are evaluated by an accredited team of healthcare providers, comprising bariatric surgeons, a specialist physician (endocrinologist), psychologist, dietician and anaesthetist. Patients are assessed according to their individual health profile. In some instances they may also be assessed by a cardiologist and psychiatrist. The initial assessment is done by a general practitioner and a nurse practitioner.
The patient will only be referred to one of the centre’s two accredited bariatric surgeons once the screening has been completed. The period from the initial visit to final approval and possible surgery may take between three to six months.
Our centre offers two bariatric surgery procedures. Patients can undergo a gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve procedure, or a staged procedure of both. A gastric bypass reduces the intake and absorption of food, while a gastric sleeve procedure reduces the size of the stomach and enhances early satiety. Both procedures remove the ghrelin hormone (the hormone that increases appetite) from the stomach to increase satiety.
Patients are hospitalised for three to five days and will need to take sick leave for about two weeks. Procedures are done laparoscopically (minimally invasive), although open surgery might be needed in some cases.
Studies have shown that the procedures prolong life expectancy due to the lowering of co-morbid conditions and rapidly improves the patient’s quality of life in terms of better mobility and emotional wellness. It is important to discuss all the potential benefits and possible risks with your referring doctor and our team of specialists.
Patients are asked to familiarise themselves with their medical aid fund benefits. Once the patient is accepted as a candidate for the procedure, the various costs related to the hospitalisation and procedure are applicable.
LIFE AFTER SURGERY
Patients that undergo bariatric surgery will require lifelong vitamin and calcium supplements, and strict medical follow-ups. Permanent lifestyle adjustments will ensure that patients experience the maximum benefit of the surgery and maintain their target weight. In some instances, a plastic/reconstructive surgeon may also be part of the post-operative treatment team.