Rashid Hospital is currently expanding its bariatric services due to a high-waiting list. The hospital follows stringent selection criteria and only those patients who medically need surgery and have exhausted other methods of weight loss are selected.

Dubai Health Authority run Rashid Hospital recently received international recognition as a centre for metabolic and bariatric surgery. The Surgical Review Corporation presented Dr Alya Al Mazrouei, CEO of Rashid Hospital and her team with the certification. 

In 2016, the general surgery department performed 400 bariatric surgery procedures, of which 65 per cent of the patients have several comorbidities. Of these, in 95 per cent of the cases, the procedure helped reverse Type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure  as well as other lifestyle related comorbidities including infertility in patients. The hospital performs a high number of surgeries and is the largest centre in the region to perform the mini-gastric bypass procedure.

Dr Al Mazrouei said, “The hospital received this certification as we provide all services related to bariatric surgery and follow a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to treat patients. We have a team of physiologists, dietitians, gastroenterologists, surgeons and doctors who specialise in minimally invasive endoscopic procedures. This helps ensure that only those patients who need surgery undergo the procedure. We also have a strong post-surgical recovery and follow-up management system.”

She added the hospital is currently expanding its bariatric services due to a high-waiting list. The hospital performs surgeries biweekly but intends on performing these surgeries five days a week before the end of this year.  The hospital currently has one operation theatre (OT) for such surgeries but will double capacity to two dedicated OTs before the end of this year.

Dr Faisal Badri, Consultant and Head of General Surgery at Rashid Hospital, said:  “ The hospital follows a stringent criteria for selecting patients who require surgery. Bariatric surgery is not the only cure for obesity. Not all obese patients should opt for surgery. Patients can opt for bariatric surgery, after they have exhausted all other weight-loss options and it should be for medical reasons. However, bariatric surgery is the answer for those patients who need it for medical purposes, especially those with morbid obesity or those with obesity that is accompanied by comorbidities.”

Dr Badri said that patients with comorbidities often find that after surgery lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes etc. get reversed. The common ailments associated with obesity include sleep apnoea, joint paints, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, urine incontinence, infertility and more.
“Post bariatric surgery, many patients can reduce or even eliminate diabetes medication. High cholesterol and high blood pressure issues often diminish and patients commonly report improvements in joint pain and sleep apnoea.”

He said the bariatric surgery clinic in Rashid Hospital, first puts every patient that visits the hospital on a six-month weight loss programme with the clinical nutrition department. They also ensure patients visit a psychologist and specialists such as endocrinologists to tackle their diabetes.  “After six months, we evaluate the case. Not every patient is selected for bariatric surgery. Those who have shown improvement through non-surgical methods during the six-month period are asked to continue the same plan. We highly recommend that patients should first consider weight loss through regular exercise and diet programmes, while ensuring they take the assistance of health professionals to ensure the right way to weight loss, so that it is sustained,” said Dr Badri.

Dr Badri added that patients follow a regular follow-up process for one year post surgery so that medical professionals can monitor their progress and make sure they continue to stay on track with their nutritional and exercise plan.