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No sweat weight loss
by Manjula Ramakrishnan February 20, 2015
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Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, MS is the Founder, Centre for Obesity and Diabetes Surgery (CODS) in Mumbai, the first Indian Centre for Excellence (ICE) for Bariatric Surgery.

The widespread ignorance among people about a surgical cure for obesity prompted Dr Lakdawala to create the dedicated bariatric and metabolic surgery centre in 2004 to battle obesity and related morbidities.

Obesity has already reached worrying proportions worldwide. “The true killer of this century is not polio, but increasing deaths, loss of limbs, blindness, end stage renal diseases caused by diabetes,” says Dr Lakdawala. “The most killer combination is diabesity – diabetes plus obesity. The simple way to overcome diabetes is not to be overweight.’’

Obese people tend to put on weight around their belly. Quite often insurance does not cover the costs of a bariatric surgery, making this procedure expensive when it comes out of personal funds and this is where Dr Lakdawala’s single incision surgery comes in.

“This is not a cosmetic surgery or a quick fix. I refuse more patients than I actually say yes to. Purely because this is a lifesaving procedure for those who want to readjust their set point. When you are obese, you have a set point – even when you diet or exercise, it doesn’t change. We change the set point through surgery, creating an adjunct or an intervention, so you can exercise or lose weight further. This is why nutrition and exercise after the surgery play an even bigger role. Surgery is just the first step.

“It is often considered more heroic to lose weight via diet or exercise rather than surgery, which is why so many of our patients refuse to talk about it. But when you make a 100kg man or woman slim, you change their life positively on multiple levels. The joy derived out of this is a humbling experience.’’

Rickson DSouza, CEO, Pinnacle Insurance Brokers LLC, Dubai, is among those who have reaped the benefits of the procedure. “When I had my surgery in 2012, I weighed 130kg. Today I am 74kg. I ran a 10km marathon last year in less than one hour. I’m also fit enough to exercise 5-6 times a week comfortably. What went down was my weight, but what went up was my self-esteem and morale!

“Now I have more energy to be outdoors. In 2013 I started doing sky diving off the Palm. Earlier my weight was a huge obstruction to all that I wanted to do. I would recommend anybody with an obesity tag to consider this surgery. As a bonus, the compliments you receive make the whole effort so worthwhile!’’

Recently Dr Lakdawala was chosen as the only Indian/Asian speaker at the opening Chapter of the Gulf Obesity Surgery Summit. This was in recognition of the fact that his Centre was the first Indian Centre to be designated as an International Centre for Excellence (ICE) for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, by the US based Surgical Review Corporation. At the summit Dr Lakdawala spoke about mesenteric defects of Gastric Bypass Procedure, which is one of the world’s most known procedure in bariatric surgeries. 

He also participated in the Arab Health Summit earlier this year, where he spoke about metabolic surgery for non-obese diabetics, and in the third International Medical and Healthcare Exhibition and Conference (IMTEC Oman 2015), organised by the Ministry of Health, Oman.

“I have operated on well over 60 patients from Oman, some with a very high Body Mass Index (BMI), weighing more than 200kg, with very encouraging results. The surgery is without any scar, for the operation is done through the belly button of the patient. The post operative care is simple, too, and the patients who have undergone the surgery can resume a normal diet within three weeks.’’

Dr Lakdawala attributes the high incidence of obesity globally to mainly the consumption of junk food and fizzy drinks. Healthy lifestyle changes would contribute enormously to keeping one’s body weight under check. 

With over 3,500 bariatric surgeries behind him, he says, “The most important health benefit of bariatric surgery is the remission of type 2 diabetes. This variety of diabetes is caused by hormones in the gut. Once the surgery is done, hormones like GLP1 and PYY are control blood sugar levels better. When fat cells are busted, the insulin resistance goes away naturally and diabetics can stop medication within no time.’’

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