Obesity is a chronic disease and has become one of the gravest health concerns in the modern era. It occurs when an abnormal or excessive amount of fat accumulates in one’s body to the extent that presents a risk to health. Obesity is a major risk factors for several chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. At Gleneagles Hospital Penang, a multidisciplinary weight management team is dedicated to help patients make practical steps and goals to long-lasting and healthy weight loss.
Our Multidisciplinary Weight Management Team
At Gleneagles Hospital Penang, our patients are support by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. Each member of the team - physicians, dietitians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, behavioral therapists, and nurses, brings a unique set of skills to help to ensure our patients’ success and wellness throughout their weight loss journey.
Leading the weight management team is the physician who first identifies and addresses the medical issues that might affect weight loss for patients. During routine medical visits, the patient’s weight, nutrition, and physical activity are reviewed by the physician. He or she then discusses with patients to select treatment options that are best suited to their needs and goals.
Dietitians help patients to gradually learn to eat less and to incorporate healthier foods into their diets. They provide critical instruction to guide patients and ensure they adhere to the dietary changes required to complement the treatment plan. Dietitians conduct essential nutrition assessments before and after weight loss procedures to ensure optimal clinical outcome for the patient.
Medication for weight loss is one of the earliest interventions for obesity treatment and can be taken orally or through injections. Besides being important in treating obesity, medication also plays a crucial role in the treatment plan for post-bariatric surgery. Pharmacists review patient’s medication plans, discuss any changes in the regime and address any query regarding the prescribed medications.
Physical therapy is an important component of weight loss. Physiotherapists conduct physical assessments and help formulate an exercise programme tailored specifically to the patient. They also teach practical ways to integrate suitable physical activities into a patient’s daily life.
Besides physical health, a strong determination is important to help a patient maintain long-term diet and exercise modifications. A behavioral therapist can help to provide mental preparation and structure that prepares patients to manage obstacles that may hinder progress in achieving their weight loss goals.
The case manager is the key patient contact and the nexus for communication between team members. He or she is in a unique position to educate patients, make them feel comfortable and accepted, and gather information that will help direct optimal treatment strategies.
In the clinical care setting, the bariatric nurse is an important figure in the patient’s experience. As one of the initial contacts, bariatric nurses plays an important role to enhance patient comfort and encourage ongoing involvement with weight loss efforts. The bariatric nurse takes care of all clinical aspects in the patients clinic follow up, day care procedures, and ward management during a patient’s admission.
Our Weight Loss Treatment and Surgery
At Gleneagles Hospital Penang, patients have access to a wide variety of treatment options tailored to their unique needs. Depending on the patient’s goals and physical health, bariatric surgery may be recommended. Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps a person lose weight by making changes to the digestive system either by making the stomach smaller or by bypassing a part of the small intestine. To be eligible for surgery you will need to consult a multidisciplinary weight loss team.
Gleneagles Hospital Penang houses 10 operating theatres, which includes 2 state-of-the-art digital operating theatres designed for laparoscopic surgery.
Below are some bariatric procedures offered at Gleneagles Hospital Penang:
1. Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure where the outer margin of the stomach is removed to restrict food intake, leaving a sleeve of stomach, roughly the size and shape of a banana (about 25%), and the pylorus, the muscle that controls emptying of food from the stomach into the intestine. The sleeve gastrectomy, by reducing the size of the stomach, restricts the amount of food the patient can consume and allows the patient to feel full quicker. The surgery also prompts hormonal changes that suppresses hunger.
2. Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
The Laparoscopic “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass" (LRYGB) is considered the "gold standard" for weight loss surgery. It involves creating a small stomach pouch and bypassing a part of the small intestines, resulting in restricted food intake and decreased food absorption.
3. Intragastric Balloon
An intragastric balloon is a minimally-invasive medical weight loss device that is temporarily placed into the stomach. It prompts weight loss by limiting the amount a patient can eat and making the patient feel fuller faster. The intragastric balloon procedure may be an option if diet and exercise have been unsuccessful and surgery is not an option. It is placed in the stomach via endoscopy and requires anaesthesia.
A new ‘swallowable balloon’ – the Elipse Intragastric Balloon is an innovative option for weight loss that does not require surgery, endoscopy or anaesthesia. Launched in Malaysia in May 2020, the first Elipse Intragastric Balloon procedure done for a patient in Malaysia and in the Asia Pacific Region took place at Gleneagles Hospital Penang, conducted by Dr. Kirubakaran Malapan and his medical team.
In summary, obesity is a chronic, progressive, and life-threatening disease. But for all that portends, weight loss and lasting lifestyle modifications can produce significant health benefits. With the help of every member of the multidisciplinary team and ongoing commitment from patients, the journey will not only be for weight loss but to emerge a healthier individual as a whole.
For more information on Obesity & Bariatric Surgery, visit here.