It's a topic surrounded by controversy and debate. New television show "Fat Surgeons" delves into the world of weight loss surgery, providing an insight into the journeys of patients undergoing dangerous gastric bypass operations in a bid to fight obesity.
New and exclusive to Really, Fat Surgeons looks to be compelling viewing as it follows two of the most sought after surgeons delivering life-changing weight loss surgery to thier morbidly obese patients.
After shocking research published previously in the year predicted that by 2030 up to 48% of men and 43% of women could be obese, it's more crucial now than ever to get a glimpse into the journeys of patients who undergo this surgery and the effect is has on their lives.
Featured in the series is Dr Chris Pring, one of the countrys most valued weight loss surgeons. He has performed over 500 bariatric operations and is glad to be featured on the show as he says it not only informs and educates, but gives viewers exclusive access into the whole process of weight loss surgery. He says: "(It's) focused on the patient journey so rather than coming into the operating theatre and looking at gory operations it's looking at the whole patient journey and who these people are, what they're like at home and what their life is like and what they're expecting from an operation. Then filming from them first coming to the clinic and talking to us, to their operation, to them going back home again and back into their family and how they cope with it afterwards if they lose their weight."
Specialising in bariatrics, the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity, is an interesting area to be involved in, as Dr Chris is well aware. "It's really a speciality that everybody seems to have an opinion about. It's comtemporary and it straddles many area's. It straddles surgey, science, politics, contempoaray living, so it makes it a very interesting and evolving area to be in. But it's also something that if you get it right it delivers fantastic results and I think you see that in the show."
In order to qualify for gastric by-pass surgery there are criteria set by medical body NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) that you must meet. A patient has to be over the age of 18, have a BMI of over 35 and have other medical problems. One of the most crucial parts of the surgery is the the care before and after the operation. Somebody will only be considered if they're able to attend follow up clinics after the operation and follow the right path to weight loss. The process is complax and much more than an operation as Dr Chris says: "Everyobdy who we see goes through a multidisciplinary team...and everybody's got to be happy that this is a patient who can safely get through an operation and cope with it afterwards."
He explained how though some argue it's a risky procedure, but not solving the problem would be much worse :"Once you get to stage which is morbidly obese, the only effective treatment is surgery. People say isn't it risky having surgery when you get to 20 stone well I'd say there is a risk, there's a risk with everything but it's a riskier thing to do nothing. If you did nothing about your obesity and went on to get diabetes or high blood pressure or what have you, then we know you will die earlier than if you did have surgery, and reversed the process. So the surgery is less risky than doing nothing."
Despite there being so many patients in the country who qualify for surgery, the surgeons are only operating on 1% at the moment, meaning they're barely at the tip of the iceberg.
With the country facing an obesity epidemic, what needs to be done to help prevent obesity in the future?
Dr Chris says: "That's really for the government and for the public health department to get together and form some proper strategys and that's going to involve education, legislation but you know we have a situation where the officical restaurant for the olympic games in London next year is McDonalds and when you're having that sort of confused message put out there, it's very diffuclt for the public, you, me, and everyone else, to untangle these messages. Until the government starts to put legislation in place, like they did with smoking and alcohol, we've got a developing and evolving problem with obesity really."
Providing a unique glimpse into the world of weight loss surgery, Fat Surgeons is new and exclusive compulsive viewing on Really, Tuesdays at 9pm from 10th January 2012 (Sky 248, Virgin 267, Freeview 20). www.uktv.co.uk/really