Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Doctors open group to focus on obesity surgical procedures

Staff Writer, with CNA

A group of doctors launched an association for bariatric and metabolic surgery yesterday in an effort to provide better treatment for obese patients and those with diabetes.

Taiwan became one of the first countries in Asia to offer bariatric surgery — weight-loss surgery — when doctors started offering the procedure 30 years ago, Taiwan Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery president Lee Wei-jei (李威傑) said at the launch ceremony.

The organization will promote the surgical procedure and the benefits of “effective, safe” medical treatments, he said.

The surgical procedure has become widely used because of the prevalence of obesity in recent years, he said.

Obesity is also a major cause of diabetes, a common chronic disease in Taiwan, Lee said.

The situation has given rise to the use of metabolic surgery, which incorporates bariatric surgery into the treatment for diabetes patients, he said.

These methods surgically reduce the size of a patient’s stomach to decrease food intake, resulting in significant weight loss.

Lee said the treatment is applicable to patients who are extremely obese and diabetes sufferers who are also obese.

Compared with the 200 to 300 cases a few years ago, more than 1,300 patients in Taiwan underwent bariatric and metabolic surgeries last year, Lee said.

The success rate of bariatric surgery has reached 90 percent in Taiwan, with a fatality rate of less than 1 percent, the association said, citing this as an example to demonstrate the country’s leadership in the field.

The association, which has more than 100 members, will serve as a platform where doctors exchange views and share their experience in performing bariatric and metabolic surgery.

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