Unforeseen consequences of delay in Bariatric Surgery

By Dr. Pradeep Chowbey in Laparoscopic / Minimal Access Surgery

Mar 28 , 2022 | 1 min read

COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for the healthcare system. Like most elective surgeries, bariatric surgeries are also being postponed until the end of this pandemic. However, a bariatric patient's needs are distinct from other surgical patients due to their higher prevalence of Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Respiratory Illnesses.

“According to the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, obese people are at a higher risk of hospitalisation with COVID-19 than patients with Cancer or Lung Disease. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning for people with higher body mass index >40.”

The risk of obesity is increasing in India. The hypothesis suggests that for obese people infected with COVID-19, the body overreacts to infection with inflammation and irritating Lungs. Obesity is a pro-inflammatory condition that directly contributes to the worst outcomes of COVID-19 infection in obese people. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has stated that bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of COVID-19 outcomes. Hence, it is essential to resume bariatric surgery amid COVID-19.

The widespread stigma of obesity and inadequate criteria for patients' selection can penalise candidates for surgical treatment. The health of affected patients has worsened due to limited adherence to lifestyle interventions, including a healthy diet and physical exercise resulting from social distancing policies.

“Bariatric surgery leads to significant long-term weight loss, diabetes remission, and reduced cardiovascular risk than non-surgical treatments.”

Obese people are vulnerable to severe coronavirus consequences, and delayed surgery may increase their risk of severity. Metabolic surgery is considered as a potentially life-saving treatment for obese people with Type 2 Diabetes

During this challenging time, doctors and healthcare workers have maintained communication with bariatric patients. Patients can also utilise various online platforms to guide their weight and co-morbidity management. Online social support groups and telemedicine have played a crucial role in the healthcare sector.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic will disappear in the coming months, the consequences of pandemic would result in a new wave of epidemic known as obesity and its co-morbidities. Thus, the resumption of bariatric metabolic surgery is equally important.

Health and wellness is the key to a joyful life. Awareness about various malfunctions such as Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, etc. and self-generated interest helps keeping the balance and harmony in a person's body system. People must not hesitate to seek help from doctors for their wellness.