Landmark surgery to curb diabetes and obesity


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THE first public metabolic surgery unit in the province has opened at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and will address obesity and related co-morbidities.

The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Unit looks into non-communicable diseases, among them diabetes mellitus Type 2, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea and dyslipidaemia.

Unit head Professor Zach Koto said: “There are mainly two types of procedures; the restrictive procedure where one restricts the amount of eating, and malabsorptive procedure, which focuses on decreasing the surface of the area where food can be absorbed.”

Koto said they had conducted a restrictive procedure on a patient where they reduced the size of the stomach by two-thirds (70%). “This works by two mechanisms; it reduces the size of the stomach so that the patient eats less.

Secondly, it reduces the hunger hormones where the patient does not feel hungry.

“There are also certain hormones that it increases such as Glucagon-like peptide 1, which increases insulin production. This can cure diabetes for patients. Meanwhile, the hypertension also goes down due to this procedure.

Koto said the service would help the government to save money as it could cure diabetes and ensure there were no more premature deaths. He said the procedure had to be looked at, and be made available to the public throughout the country.

The surgery was being overseen by Denmark-based expert Professor Peter Funch-Jensen, who reiterated that the treatment would address the issue of obesity.

“This will give better health for patients and for the economic view; this will be the right thing for society when diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity are addressed.”



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