Every Thursday from 2pm to 5pm, Dr Kirubakaran Malapan and his team of specialists gather at the ground floor of Pusat Rawatan Harian (Ambulatory Day Care Centre), Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, Ipoh to run a bariatric clinic.
“Bariatric surgery is basically weight-loss surgery. It’s not a liposuction; it’s defined as surgery for individuals whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is over the top. For the Asean criteria the index is anywhere between 32.5 to 37.5 and the patients suffer from diabetes, hypertension and so on. If you don’t have diabetes, hypertension and so on, then it’s more than 37.5,” said Dr Kirubakaran from the Breast and Endocrine Unit who has been in practice for 16 years.
Established in November 2014, a multi-disciplinary approach is used to manage obesity. Hence, each patient will be examined by an endocrinologist, a dietician, a counsellor, a psychiatrist, a sports physician and a surgeon individually during consultation.
Why are so many specialities needed? “Surgery is just one of the options in weight-loss treatment. We’ve drugs, exercise, dieting and other ways. If their BMI is not so high, we encourage them to try other methods first before surgery. If they’re super obese with multiple co-morbidities, then we might give the option for surgery,” added Dr Kirubakaran, who is also the bariatric surgeon.
The surgical procedures available include the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Last year, they operated on a 19-year-old patient who weighed 247kg (approximate), their heaviest patient to date.
“Our departments are all over the hospital. It’s difficult for the obese patients to walk here and there for consultation. Hence, all of us gather here every Thursday to make it easy for patients,” said Dr Kirubakaran.
Ipoh Echo spoke to a few of the patients. “The bariatric team has become like my family. Even after working hours, they would answer my inquiries via Whatsapp. I’ve lost 31kg in four months,” 36-year-old Nuraini shared. “I’m very satisfied with the service as they always keep in touch with me before and after the operation to check on my health. I follow the dietetic regime and it’s effective. Before I weighed 143.5kg now I’m 120kg,” Thomas, 59, who underwent surgery in January, remarked.
For more details and appointments readers can contact Bariatric nurse Noraini at 05 208 7341. Readers also can visit their Facebook page: Ipoh Weight Loss & Bariatric.