The aim is to make clear the serious effects of the disease on health and to highlight the numerous treatment options now available. It is estimated that approximately 1 billion people today are obese and unfortunately it is estimated that the number of people with obesity will double in the next decade.

What is obesity?

Obesity is defined as the increased deposition of fat in the human body due to a long-term loss of energy balance. “Although the appearance of obesity is due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors, it is common in people with psychogenic eating behavior and incorrect social norms” he says Mr. Charalambos Spyropoulos General Surgeon, Director of the 3rd Surgical Clinic / Clinic for Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Digestive System, Obesity and Diabetes Metropolitan General, General Secretary of the Hellenic Obesity Surgery Society (H.E.H.E.P.) and continues:

“Obesity is now considered an autonomous disease and due to its increased frequency, it has acquired epidemic characteristics. At the same time, it is closely associated with the occurrence of numerous clinically serious other diseases.”

Child obesity

Continuous research highlights the seriousness of the problem in children as well. The modern intense pace of life, the lack of proper nutrition and the absence of exercise in combination with the increased use of electronic devices (tablets, television, mobile phones), work burdensome for the child.

What serious diseases is obesity associated with?

“Obesity is an autonomous nutritional disease of developing and developed countries, significantly affecting the quality of life of the sufferers. “At the same time”, notes the expert, “it has been closely linked to the appearance of various co-morbidities”:

• Cardiovascular events
• Type 2 diabetes
• Strokes
• Arterial hypertension
• Dyslipidemia
• Sleep apnea
• Various malignancies, such as breast, endometrial, esophageal, colon cancer

How can obesity be treated?

“Obesity is a disease that needs definitive treatment through specialized medical care. The sooner the person or the parent, whose child is obese, realizes that it is a dangerous disease, the faster it will be treated.

Especially in children, through dietary and psychological support, a balanced diet should be followed, without deprivation, punitive treatment. The child should accept this whole process as a positive change and this requires the contribution and presence of the parents”, he emphasizes.

Initial treatment of obesity includes:

• Change in dietary patterns
• Balanced nutrition and diet
• Physical activity (eg walking and exercise)
• Modern medication

Surgical treatment of obesity

“In the case of adults with clinically severe obesity, conservative management of the condition is usually not effective. In these cases, and especially in the presence of other diseases, the surgical treatment of obesity (bariatric/metabolic surgery) is the appropriate choice.
According to modern guidelines, people with a body mass index (BMI: weight/height of the person squared) greater than 30 are considered candidates for obesity surgery,” explains Mr. Spyropoulos.

Some of the modern surgical methods to treat obesity are:

1. Long gastrectomy (gastric sleeve)
2. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
3. One-anastomosis gastric bypass
4. Bholepancreatic diversions

All operations to treat the condition are now performed with minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopic or robotic), are extremely safe and require minimal hospitalization (1 to 2 days).

How do I choose the right medical team?

“The surgical treatment of obesity is a separate, complex surgical technique that requires the presence of a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in metabolic surgery. Therefore, it is mandatory to treat the condition in specialized centers with full logistical and medical support. The surgeon in charge must be specialized in performing bariatric operations, with experience and knowledge of all available surgical techniques”, concludes Mr. Spyropoulos.

*Metropolitan General has a fully organized obesity and metabolic disease team offering detailed pre-operative patient preparation, robotic surgical approach using the state-of-the-art DaVinci Xi robotic system, and comprehensive post-operative patient monitoring and care.