Metabolic Surgery – what is it and what is it used to treat?

Metabolic surgery in the metabolic age is used to treat not just obesity but metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes and can help many complex patients not just improve their quality of life but their life expectancy. Sanjay Purkayastha, Consultant Bariatric and Metabolic Surgeon at OneWelbeck Digestive Health, takes a closer look at the procedure and how it can impact your health.

Why is metabolic surgery so important?

Obesity and type two diabetes are two related conditions that have been part of a pandemic long before anyone heard of coronavirus or COVID-19. High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attacks, cancers, mental health disorders, reproductive disorders, chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions are just some of those problems associated with being overweight, even without being classed as obese or morbidly obese.

All the above conditions have become more common in recent years, and lockdown and the pandemic have exacerbated many people’s symptoms. Metabolic surgery can help to improve all of these, but it is not a miracle cure and not an easy option. The combination of talking therapies with dietetic change, pharmacotherapy and for some metabolic or bariatric surgery mean a fundamental lifestyle change. However, the positive effects on quality of life and life expectancy that were never thought possible before have been proven time and time again in large-scale clinical trials.

How do I qualify for this sort of treatment?

Currently, BMI (body mass index) is used as an indicator to qualify for treatment. If your ratio of height to weight when calculated gives a BMI of greater than 35, you qualify for this sort of treatment as long as you have tried other non-surgical options first. At OneWelbeck we have a world-class, second-to-none metabolic-bariatric multidisciplinary team which includes psychologists, eating disorder specialists, dieticians, nutritionists, surgeons, anaesthetists, gastroenterologists, hepatologists and specialist nurses that all work together to personalise your treatment and put together the best options for you if you are considering this sort of surgical intervention. We insist that this sort of surgery is part of a longer-term treatment plan, and with careful preoperative optimisation as well as a medium to long-term follow-up we give our patients the tools to ensure their lifestyle remains healthy and consistent. It is absolutely essential to work with psychological support experts and dietetic input in order to get the best long-term sustained weight loss and resolution of obesity related comorbidities.

What are the treatment options?

Intragastric balloons, gastric banding, laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic roux-en-y gastric bypass, laparoscopic single anastomoses or mini gastric bypass all have significant potential for weight loss, and can help many patients as long as the right procedure is chosen for the right patient along with nonsurgical and pharmacological support. For those patients who have had unsuccessful surgery elsewhere we also offer second opinion and revisional bariatric and metabolic surgery to change the procedure that you have already had to one that is more metabolically useful for you.

What happens after surgery?

Your micro-nutrient and nutritional status are absolutely imperative prior to and after any surgical procedure, and our team goes to great lengths in order to ensure that you don’t just lose weight but you are healthy, leaner, stronger and have improved mental health outcomes as well.

Currently we are the only team in the UK offering a digital concierge in the form of a personalised app. Whatever the procedure you choose, the app allows you to record your activity, your weight loss, your portion size, your nutritional and caloric intake, your mood, and a host of other outcomes whilst keeping key tips and advice from consultants and previous patients at your fingertips.

What should I do if I’m thinking about metabolic surgery?

As stated above these are not easy options and simple decisions to make but our team is on hand to guide you, answer your questions and allow you to feel as comfortable as possible to make such life changing choices. However, as hundreds of our patients will pay testament to, if you are one of the millions of patients who have passed the tipping point and struggled with yo-yo dieting, fads from the Internet and are thinking about how you can change your life then please do get in touch with our team.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made many people think about their weight and obesity and reducing their risk of long-term, and potentially fatal, health problems. The pandemic has also led to huge increases in obesity and obesity related comorbidities in the UK and globally. Our team has researched this and leads the way internationally on COVesity research. Its renowned team can now evaluate and help to treat you at OneWelbeck Digestive Health, and we look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or if you are considering this multimodal, digitally supported, minimally invasive surgery combined with a world-class multidisciplinary team to support you.

How OneWelbeck
can help

Here at OneWelbeck, we have a team of gastroenterology specialists, state of the art facilities and diagnostics, and highly competitive financial packages for self-funding patients as well as those with private health care.

Digestive Health