Dr Mohit Bhandari, a renowned bariatric surgeon, holds the record of being the first person to document obesity surgery in all of Asia and had his name registered in the Limca Book of Records in 2013 for performing 25 bariatric surgeries in 11 hours. Orissa POST talks to Dr Bhandari on the issue. Excerpts from the interview:
OP: What is the magnitude of obesity in Indian population?
Obesity is very common in India. It is around 5 per cent of the total population. The percentage sounds lower but if you compare it with the total population, it can be seen that obesity affects a large number of people. It has now become a common problem everywhere. People from different age groups are found to be obese.
OP: Is obesity only confined to over-eating in our country?
This is a myth. There are many people who eat less but are either overweight or obese. There are also cases of children who are obese. Obesity is not confined to over-eating alone. Hormonal and genetic problems also attribute to excessive weight-gain which needs medical attention.
OP: How does medicine help people tackle obesity?
Sometimes obese people with associated risks could take medical intervention. Surgical methods have been in use for the last 40 years to tackle the issue medically. Here doctors can use surgeries to reduce the excess weight. The procedure is slightly painful but now, with minimal invasive technologies, the procedure is almost painless with less or no cuts. The process targets the ailment directly.
OP: What is the latest technology that targets obesity medically?
Now we have something called as Bariatric Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty where a tube is inserted into the patient’s body which sutures part of the stomach of obese people. It limits the capacity to eat. The surgery is almost painless and leaves no sign of surgery on the body.
OP: How successful is the technology? What is the cost of the procedure?
It is almost 100 per cent successful. With this procedure, it is possible to cut down almost 80 per cent of the excess body weight. But the patient, after the procedure, is supposed to maintain a healthy and recommended lifestyle. They can be discharged on the same day of the surgery. It costs around Rs 3.5 lakh in India. In Odisha, this technology is hardly offered in private hospitals. With my experience, I am now trying to treat patients in Odisha by collaborating with CARE Hospital in the city where the facility will be available.