Leading the way in bariatric surgery 

04/02/2014 00:00 
A UCLH patient who had gastric bypass surgery six months ago was barely recognisable when he returned to the hospital where he was treated last week.
 

Surgeon Andrew Jenkinson (back row, second from left) with some of the bariatrics theatre team, clockwise from left, anaesthesia research fellow James Holding, consultant anaesthetist Maan Hasan, theatres assistant Sohail Dadi, staff nurse Emily Tindugan, and operating theatre practitioners Fatima de la Cruz and Lise Ngemoh.


Mark Kelley visited University College Hospital for his six-month review, after his surgery was featured on Newshour on the BBC World Service. And presenter James Menendez came along to see how well Mark had done after surgery.
 
Patient Mr Kelley, 40, and Mr Menendez first met 24 hours after he had gastric bypass surgery in July 2013. The reporter had been invited to see the surgery while researching a piece on the global obesity epidemic.
 
The Newshour presenter was surprised at how much weight the patient had lost. “I think a lot of people must tell you this but I’m not sure I would have recognized you. It’s almost all gone, you’ve definitely lost it all off your face,” said a visibly astonished Mr Menendez.
 
He asked surgeon Andrew Jenkinson whether surgery was the answer for the one in 20 adults who may be eligible for bariatric surgery in the UK.
 
Mr Jenkinson said: “It’s not practical to operate on everyone so this cannot be the answer. The NHS cannot cope with those numbers. At the moment we do 8,000 operations a year in the UK and I read that there are some two million people eligible for surgery.”
 
University College Hospital conducts some 300 operations a year, ranging from the gastric band to gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Obesity surgery leads to sustained weight reduction together with the resolution of many of the diseases that are associated with obesity, leading to an increase in life expectancy.
 
“Mr Jenkinson is right when he says the number of patients who would benefit from obesity surgery in the UK far exceeds the capacity, says bariatrics clinical lead Rachel Batterham.

“This is why the team at UCLH is undertaking groundbreaking research on patients undergoing bariatric surgery so that we can gain insights into the mechanisms underlying the success of this surgery and develop new non-surgical therapies for obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
 
Mr Jenkinson said his patient’s long-term prognosis was really good as long-term studies had shown that weight after surgery would stay at a healthy level.
 
“He will probably live at least 10 years longer and can be a more productive member of society.
 
Half a million men and women are classified as obese leading to what experts are terming a global obesity epidemic.
 
Mr Kelley (pictured below, before his operation and last week) lost about 50kg in the six months after surgery and his diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea disappeared.


“I feel absolutely fantastic, I feel like I’m 20 again,” he told the BBC. “My self-esteem has improved and I’m looking for work and doing some voluntary work to get back into the swing of things.”
 
The full programme is available here. The item on bariatric surgery is about 45 minutes in.
 
Newshour is the BBC World Service's flagship international news and current affairs programme with a global weekly reach of 43 million (including 1.72 million people in the UK and 9.9 million in the US).

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