Did you know that bariatric surgery can help you lose about 50% of your excess body weight?

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery for weight loss, also known as metabolic surgery, offers obese individuals a realistic and sustainable alternative to other weight loss options.

Research shows that this surgery can help patients lose approximately 50% of their excess body weight compared to the 5-10% that can generally be achieved with the aid of traditional weight loss diet and exercise programmes.

How does bariatric surgery work?

The surgery is undertaken laparoscopically through small puncture holes in the abdomen to support weight loss by limiting your food intake. It also reduces the absorption of nutrients by the digestive system and stops the normal signaling from the stomach to the appetite centre in the brain, thereby effectively reducing food cravings.

The small pouch at the top of the stomach, created during the bariatric surgery, quickly fills and stretches. This activates signals to the brain to powerfully switch off appetite to prevent overeating. Bypassing the first part of the small intestine also causes dramatic changes in gut hormones secreted in response to food, thereby restoring the hormones to levels seen in lean individuals. You will generally find that you will feel satiated, or full, after eating smaller portions of food.

Why choose Netcare for your bariatric surgery?

  • There are currently five centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and bariatric surgery at Netcare hospitals. These are at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Gauteng, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, Netcare Greenacres Hospital in the Eastern Cape, and Netcare Blaauwberg and Netcare N1 City hospitals in the Western Cape. Bariatric surgery is also offered at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Gauteng.

  • The internationally accredited centre at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, Gauteng – under the aegis of renowned endocrinologist Professor Tess van der Merwe, chairperson of the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and Metabolism (SASSO) – is the principal centre for the four locally SASSO accredited bariatric centres located in Netcare hospitals.

  • Accreditation gives you the assurance that these centres of excellence adhere to best international practices to create a safe environment that supports patients with empathy and care. SASSO accredited centres also follow strict rules and regulations regarding patients’ dietary environment, as well as care in ICU and wards. To comply with international standards, a database with statistics on each patient’s progress is maintained.

Who could qualify for bariatric surgery?

Various criteria are taken into consideration before a patient is accepted for
bariatric surgery:

Patients between the ages of 18 and 65 years with a body mass index (BMI) score of 40kg/m2 or more

Patients with a body mass index (BMI) score of 35kg/m2 or more and at least 2 serious comorbid conditions

  • SASSO accredited centres also require you to undergo a thorough physiological and psychological evaluation to ascertain your suitability for bariatric surgery.

  • You must have made multiple attempts, in good faith, to achieve weight loss through conservative means such as dietary or pharmacological weight loss programmes before you will be considered by the multidisciplinary team for bariatric surgery.

  • As there can be numerous highly complex physiological and psychological causes of obesity, and each person has a completely different constitution and metabolic makeup, every case is unique and not everyone can have, or will respond well, to the treatment.

  • Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix solution. It is important that you fully understand what the procedure will entail, the implications thereof, and are able to commit to long term lifestyle changes and medical follow ups.

Types of bariatric procedures and their application

Several types of bariatric surgery are offered by the SASSO accredited centres at Netcare hospitals. To ensure optimal long term resolution of diseases such as diabetes, it is important that the right procedure is selected for the right patient.

The surgeries offered are either restrictive or malabsorptive in nature, or a combination of both.