HMC warns against undergoing bariatric surgeries in unreliable medical centers abroad

Doha: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has warned against undergoing bariatric surgeries, such as sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass, in unreliable medical centers abroad due to the adverse effects associated with these procedures if performed in unsafe medical conditions.

Experts warned that several patients who underwent bariatric surgeries abroad were recently admitted for follow up treatment after suffering severe complications due to surgical errors and are currently receiving treatment at Hamad General Hospital.

HMC called on patients wishing to perform bariatric surgeries abroad to take necessary measures to check the expertise and skills of the surgeon who will perform the surgery, as well as the level of quality at the medical center where the operation will be performed.
Sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass surgery is a surgical weight loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 25% of its original size through surgical removal of a large part of it or by rerouting the digestive tract.

Dr. Moataz Basha, Head of the Bariatric Surgery Department at Hamad Medical Corporation, explained that HMC has recently received a number of patients, including citizens and residents, who underwent bariatric surgeries outside the country in medical centers that do not have the necessary expertise to perform this type of procedures. This resulted in serious postoperative complications for the patients and required them to stay in the hospital to receive treatment for periods of up to two months in some cases.

“The complications that these patients suffered after undergoing bariatric surgery abroad include gastric leakage, bleeding, and septicemia, which can be life-threatening,” he said. “Patients and their families can also develop psychological complications associated with the failure of the surgery.”

“The medical teams at HMC immediately provides the necessary care and treatment for those patients who have experienced medical complications abroad and the treatment usually includes either surgical intervention or gastroscopy using interventional radiology to remove secretions from the abdomen. Treatment for these cases can also include intravenous nutrition to help the patient recover and enhance wound healing. The cost of treating these surgical complications is very high, therefore, it is important for the patient to be very careful before choosing to undergo a bariatric surgery abroad to avoid seeking care at an unreliable medical center,” added Dr. Basha.

Dr. Basha explained that HMC’s Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center is one of the largest centers specializing in obesity treatment and bariatric surgery in the world, as it has steadily continued to expand since 2011 to provide integrated, evidence-based medical services at the highest international standards. He said the Department receives 14,500 patient visits annually and performs 800 to 1000 bariatric surgeries every year. 

In addition to surgical services, the Center also provides therapeutic management for obesity and its associated diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, through a group of specialized doctors with the highest levels of training and fellowships in obesity medicine and bariatric surgery, in addition to a team of clinical dietitians, physiotherapists and health educators.

Body mass index (BMI) is a value derived from the mass (weight) and height of a person. When the BMI reading ranges between 25 and 29.5, the individual is classified as overweight. Individuals with a body mass index of 30 or more are considered to have obesity while those with a BMI of 40 or higher are considered to have severe obesity.

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