Obesity & Bariatric Surgery

Last updated date: 17-Jul-2021

Gleneagles Hospital Penang

3 mins read

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body that presents a risk to health. Obesity is a major risk factors for several chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. This in turn can seriously affect the health of an individual, and at times could prove to be fatal.


What Causes Obesity?

Obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through daily activities. The most common causes of obesity are related to overeating and a lack of physical activity. Though a person’s body weight is the result of various internal and external factors, some people are at a disadvantage when it comes to controlling their eating behaviour and lifestyle changes. 


How Is Obesity Measured?

The most commonly used measure for obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI) - a simple index to classify overweight and obesity in adults. In a BMI test, a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters). People are considered overweight when their BMI ranges between 23 - 27.4 kg/m2 and obese when their BMI is above 27.5 kg/m2.


What Are the Treatment Options for Obesity?

Some of the common treatment options for obesity are:

  • Dietary Changes
  • Physical Activity
  • Medication
  • Bariatric Surgery


What Is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps a person lose weight by making changes to the digestive system either by making the stomach smaller or by bypassing a part of the small intestine. Bariatric surgery is an option for people with BMI above 32 kg/m2 with medical conditions. To be eligible for surgery you will need to consult a multidisciplinary bariatric team.


What Are the Different Types of Bariatric Surgery?

1. Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which about 70% of the stomach is removed, leaving a tube-shaped stomach about the size and shape of a banana. Limiting the size of your stomach restricts the amount of food you can consume. It also prompts hormonal changes that assist with weight loss.

2. Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass involves creating a small stomach pouch and bypassing a part of the small intestines. The rest of the stomach remains functional and remains connected to the intestine. This surgery results in hormonal changes, which leads to better control of blood sugars in diabetic patients and results in other metabolic improvements.


Is There A Non-Surgical Procedure to Treat Obesity?

A non-surgical procedure to treat obesity is to insert an intragastric balloon. An intragastric balloon is an inflatable medical weight loss device that is temporarily placed into the stomach of patients who are overweight or obese. This device aids in weight loss if diet and exercise is unsuccessful and surgery is not an option. It is placed in the stomach via endoscopy and can be performed as a day-care procedure. The balloon limits the amount of food the stomach can hold and thereby creates an early feeling of fullness and satiety.


Who Are the Members of a Bariatric Team?

At Gleneagles Hospital Penang, we have a multidisciplinary Bariatric Team consisting of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians and pharmacists dedicated to help ensure the treatment success and wellness of the patient throughout his / her weight loss journey.


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