Diet-wise, I recommend small amounts of high-quality, nutrient-rich foods; with supplements where necessary. Excercise-wise, I will guide and support you for the duration of your time under my care, but i will push you and push you, and it won’t be easy.
To demonstrate their commitment tot he process, I ask prospective surgery candidates to start by showing me that they can lose 5 to 10% of their bodyweight over a period of montsh, while I support and monitor their progress.
What are the various procedures that you perform?
For the overweight person who wants to lose a few kilograms over a short period of time – a maximum of six months – the only procedure available is the intra-gastric balloon. With the patient under sedation, the balloon is inserted and positioned endoscopically ( through the mouth and down the oesophagus ), and then filled with water; six months later, it’s removed in the same way while it’s in position, the patient feels full all the time, and can only eat slowly and small amounts. Weight is losta nd the patient gets used to eating small healthier portions.
Multiple surgeries are available for the morbidly obese. That group includes Caucasians with a BMI of over 40 ( or 35 with medical complications), and Asians with a BMI of 37.5 ( or 32.5 with medical complications )
A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomyinvolves remove about 6 percent of the stomach longtitudinally ( making it look like the sleeve of a shirt ), thus reducing the volume of food that can be present int he stomach at one time.
A laparoscopic gastric band ( or lap-band ) is and inflatable and adjustable silicon device placed around the top part of the stomach to form a small pouch, restricting food intake by drastically slowing the rate of entry into the stomach to a slow trickle. It can be removed or replaced laparascopically, too.
With a laparoscopic gastric bypass, the small bowel is brought up to the stomach: the food from the stomach is thereby rerouted directly into the small intestine, bypassing the liver-pancreas complex. When this weight-management procedure is used as treatment or Type 2 diabetes, it is known as metabolic surgery
Entirely bypassing the stomach would seriously affected digestion and the
absorption of nutrients, surely?
The body adapts to digesting the food lower down the intestinal tract, but because the absorption capacity of the small bowel is not as good as that of the stomach, digestion is undeniably limited. Not only are you eating less, but you’re absorbing less of what you eat. We’re still discovering the hormonal changes this procedure causes in the body, too.
Would you explain how a laparoscopic gastric bypass “cures” metabolic syndrome: the evil trio of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol?
Diabetes is essentially your pancreas burning out and no longer being able to supply sufficient insulin to control blood sugar levels. Bypassing the liver-pancreas complex relieves the stress on the pancreas and reverses the diabetes immediately, without the need for weight loss. In fact, the BMI criterion no longer applies. So effective is this surgery that the International Diabetics Federation recommends it for the management of early Type 2 diabetes.
Though medical insurance does not generally pay for weight loss surgery, some of the major companies are starting to do so. The cost of this surgery may be high, but it can save on the enormous long-term medical coset of diabetes and its complications.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Seeing people’s lives transformed is incredibly rewarding. A number of people that I’ve given gastric balloons to, for example, have taken up the challenge to start exercising, making friends at the gym, buying clothes from regular stores, and even dating for the first time in their lives.
And yes, I do also share the happiness of a slim bride in her gorgeous wedding dress – as long as her wedding commitment goes hand in hand with the resolution to live, eat and exercise healthily for the rest of her life.
Dr Ganesh Ramalingam
3 Mount Elizabeth, #11-13/14 Mt Elizabeth
Medical Centre | 6737 8538
319 Joo Chiat Place, #04-03 Parkway East
Medical Centre | 6346 6348
38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-43/44 Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre | 6570 2608