Al Ain/Dubai: A 37-year-old Arab resident based in Al Ain has died after complications from gastric bypass surgery for weight loss.

The man who weighed 200 kilograms died two weeks ago. His family are calling on other people thinking about having the operation not to go ahead.

Following the report, doctors have said that only people with potentially life-threatening obesity should undergo weight loss surgery and only when other treatments, such as lifestyle changes (exercise and diet), have not worked.

They told Gulf News that an obese person should undergo a thorough evaluation by a multidisciplinary team — a doctor, dietician, psychologist and surgeon — to determine if the health benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks.

Also called bariatric surgery, a gastric bypass procedure involves surgical changes to the stomach and digestive system, limiting the amount of food one can eat. The procedure can help reduce the risk of weight-related health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnoea, a sleep disorder.

The man was under pressure to lose weight to improve his marriage prospects. He had put off the decision to undergo the surgery for six years. A week after his operation he complained of stomach pain. The surgeon who operated on him was unable to help.

The man was later admitted to a hospital in Al Ain. Examinations revealed complications in the digestive system.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Girish Juneja, laparoscopy-bariatric surgeon and head of the Bariatric Centre at the International Modern Hospital (IMH), Dubai, said: “All surgeries carry risks. Bariatric surgery carries a risk of less than 1 in 100. These risks include internal bleeding and blood clots.”

He explained that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above or in the case of Asians and Arabs, a BMI of 32.5 or above, should seek medical advice for weight loss.

In an earlier interview with Gulf News Dr Salah Abusnana, technical director at the Rashid Centre for Diabetes and Research (RCDR) in Ajman, said: “A doctor has to justify the surgery after evaluating the risk due to the weight and provide the necessary follow-up.”

“A quick solution has led to a sad ending. I chose to fulfil my wish and see my son in a healthy shape and destiny chose to end my son’s life,” the deceased patient’s mother said.

“I would like to advise those embarking on this surgery not to do it. A healthy regime and sporting activities, on the other hand, will give safer and more effective results.”

Sarah Dabbar is an intern with Gulf News