Balloon weight loss procedure hits Durban

Dr Kessendhra Naidoo picture: submitted

Dr Kessendhra Naidoo has become the first specialist surgeon to perform an endoscopic weight loss procedure in private practice in KwaZulu-Natal following a handful of other procedures in other provinces and at a state hospital. The procedure helps patients to lose weight due to a silicone Orbera balloon inflated with saline reducing the size of the patient’s stomach, resulting in a smaller intake of food.

“A handful of cases have been done so far in Johannesburg and Pretoria. A similar balloon was trialled at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital a year or so ago,” said Dr Naidoo, who recently performed two cases and will be performing further cases at the surgical speciality hospital, Busamed Gateway Private Hospital.

The relatively young hospital was recently voted as one of South Africa’s top five hospitals for the second time by Discovery Health patients and is the ideal facility for the procedure in terms of infection control, its specialized nursing teams and beautiful aesthetics. Busamed group has a vision to make a difference to the health-care sector due to its fundamental focus being on the provision of quality health care to all.

The procedure is referred to as endoscopic rather than surgical due to the way it is performed through a natural opening in the body by the insertion of a flexible, lighted optical shaft or open tube. Endoscopy was first developed as a method of examining the body without the need for surgery.

The operations have resulted in one patient having lost 5kg in the 1st month, while the other losing 7.9kg in 6 weeks. Dr Naidoo said its use is advocated for those with a body mass index (BMI), calculated by dividing the weight of the patient by his/her height squared, of between 30 and 40.

“The procedure takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes. The balloon is inserted and inflated with saline to the desired size. This can be anywhere from 400ml to 700ml. It is non-surgical. The balloon is removed in six months or sooner if necessary.” Dr Naidoo said the procedure is quite safe with the worst outcome being the possibility of intestinal obstruction which could occur if the balloon were to leak and deflate allowing migration. “When we do this procedure we inject a blue dye into the saline so should it leak then the patient’s secretions would be discoloured blue and this would be a red flag for them to see their specialist urgently.”

The procedure is gaining popularity worldwide, with more than 220 000 procedures having been completed globally so far but Dr Naidoo said the balloon doesn’t replace surgery but can be used as a bridge to bariatric surgery when medical therapy has failed. “Weight loss achieved with the balloon is three times more than with diet and exercise alone,” he said.

  AUTHOR
Eve Morris
Photographer and Feature Writer

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