Leading institutions in the UAE offering Bariatric Surgery:
Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi.
Rashid Hospital, Dubai.
Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah.
Rashid Centre for Diabetes and Research, Ajman.
Surgery Cost (These are estimates only).
Sleeve Gastrectomy: Dh 40,000
Gastric Bypass: Dh50,000
Gastric Band: Dh 25,000
Gastric Balloon: Dh 12,000
Emirati Shannon Al Harithi was not only obese but was diabetic and had high blood pressure before he underwent a gastric banding procedure.
“I feel great,” says the 33-year-old who earlier weighed 152 kgs and is now down to 110 kgs. “My target is to bring my weight down further to 90 kilos,” he says.
In the Gastric Banding procedure, an adjustable silicon band is placed on the upper third of the stomach, making the stomach into one small portion and one large portion. The smaller portion, which is about 30 ml in volume capacity, is now the new stomach. The procedure takes one hour and is reversible.
This new stomach, owing to its reduced size, makes you feel full even when you have eaten small quantities of food. Shannon says he underwent the procedure last September. “I have to blend my solid foods well to make it easier for me to digest them,” he says. Before the surgery, he could barely manage to walk 22 metres before feeling winded. But now, “I can walk 3 kms,” he says. “I am committed to my diet programme.” Obesity runs in his family and his brother too had the same procedure done to lose weight.
American expatriate Allicia McCorkle was fed up of dieting, losing weight and then gaining it back all over again.
Her weight kept going up and down for the past 7 years until she recently underwent the gastric sleeve procedure. “I am not denying myself anything now,” she says about her diet which she eats in smaller servings. “The gastric sleeve reduces the stomach to the size of a banana,” she says. Now she makes every meal count. She says that earlier when she dieted, there were many restrictions as to what she could eat.
Allicia underwent the sleeve gastrectomy procedure where a portion of the stomach is removed. The portion removed includes the part where it secretes the ghrelin hormone that increases the desire for food and makes high-calorie foods look more appealing.
Weight control, as a result of this, is faster through this procedure and is sustained.
Allicia has to make follow-up visits to the doctor who checks for vitamin deficiencies, if any, and is advises diet changes.
Speaking of her decision to undergo the surgery, Allicia says, “This was the last thing I wanted to do, but it is the best thing I did for myself. I needed someone to help me.”
Filipino expatriate Aaron Dann C. Gegajo, 30, not only lost weight after undergoing the gastric cleeve procedure, the same as Allicia. but his high cholesterol levels too dropped, his blood pressure has gone down, and his self-esteem is now high.
“Purchasing clothes is so easy now,” says Aaron, who dropped 25 kgs - from 105 to 80. Earlier, he was the only obese person in his family. “The urge to eat a lot is gone,” he says. Aaron now plays sports such as basketball and goes cycling.
Mohammad Seoudi, an Egyptian, was also desperate to lose weight and the maximum he ever lost through dieting was 5 kgs.
He did not want surgical intervention so he opted for a gastric balloon procedure. The silicon ballon is placed in the stomach through the mouth and then inflated inside by filling it with saline solution. The procedure takes 30 minutes in the hands of an expert surgeon. The patient stays in the hospital for about 6 hours for observation and can go back to his daily routine subsequently.
The balloon takes up a lot of space inside the stomach leaving very little space for food. So you feel like eating less. Seoudi says he felt a slight pain initially after the procedure but now he eats whatever he wishes, but within limits.
He earlier weighed 162.5 kgs and since the procedure last December, has lost 20 kgs. “I have changed my lifestyle too,” he says.
The balloon is removed after six months through the mouth using an endoscope. The weight loss during this time will be about 25 kgs.