Obesity is a fat problem in Kenya. But as many of us know, losing weight is no mean feat. It comes at a cost; often laborious tasks like sweaty morning runs and intermittent fasts. Enter bariatric surgery, the answer to the weighty matter.

Bariatric surgery is a procedure done on the digestive system to help a person with obesity lose weight. Bariatric surgery is an option for people who have a body mass index (BMI) above 40 or where excess weight poses health risks like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Gastric bypass is what you have probably heard about. Touted as the best surgical weight loss procedure, it uses a minimally invasive technique that ultimately limits the amount of food eaten and nutrients the body absorbs. The stomach is divided into two; a small pouch about the size of a golf ball to collect eaten food and a larger portion which no longer receives food. The small pouch is then connected directly to a portion of the small intestine, bypassing the remaining large part of the stomach.

Newer technique

But there is a newer technique; the robotic sleeve gastrectomy. Unlike the gastric bypass, in this new technique, food is allowed to progress naturally through the digestive system. About 60 to 80 per cent of the stomach is removed with the help of the da Vinci robot which gives surgeons more visualisation. The stomach is divided vertically using a line of staples making it resistant to stretching. The part that is removed secretes ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite and hunger. The remaining part is a sleeve-shaped like a banana which stores between 1 and 5 ounces of calories. As a result, the stomach develops resistance to excessive food, making you feel full for longer with a smaller amount of food. 

Sleeve gastrectomy involves reducing the volume of the stomach which helps you lose weight by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. This procedure helps one lose weight while still absorbing the full amount of nutrients in food eaten.

How does it work?

The procedure, is done using laparoscopic surgery with only an overnight stay at hospital required for recovery. On average, a patient loses up to 70 per cent of weight within two years of the surgery.

Benefits of using the da Vinci robot

·        Smaller incisions

·        Fewer incisions

·        More precise movements

This results in:

·        Faster recovery

·        Smaller scars

·        Fewer scars

·        Less pain