The surgeon harnessing new gastric sleeve technology to tackle the global obesity epidemic: Interview

May 28, 2024


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The latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) published in March 2024 showed that adult obesity has more than doubled since 1990, and adolescent obesity has quadrupled. While the traditional advice to “eat less and move more” offers a simple solution for the majority of people, the sharp rise in obesity in both developed and developing nations underscores why losing weight isn’t such a simple fix for many others. 

From access to fresh, affordable food, the rise of chemical additives to societal changes that support a sedentary lifestyle, a combination of factors means that over 890 million adults are living with obesity with another 43% classed as overweight.

Bariatric surgery is increasingly recognized as a necessary treatment for individuals suffering from obesity. Procedures including gastric bands and sleeves offer a proven way to help patients get their weight under control to reduce associated health complications and co-morbidities. 

In recent years, Turkey has become renowned for its high-quality surgical facilities, attracting health tourists from the USA and Canada to Europe. From cosmetic surgeries and dental procedures, Turkey is also a center of excellence for bariatric surgery. 

Bugra Kardaslar is one of the most successful surgeons in the country whose reputation for gastric sleeve surgery exceeds the borders of Turkey. In addition to helping countless individuals access a new lease of life thanks to innovative bariatric surgical interventions, he also trains physicians from all over the world in the latest techniques. 

We spoke to Mr Kardaslar to understand more about the alarming rise in worldwide obesity rates, why bariatric surgery is needed as an intervention and the latest in gastric sleeve technology. 

Recently, patients from many countries around the world prefer Turkey for surgical operations. What is the reason for this?

In our country, which offers four seasons at a time, we have many impressive cities. Istanbul, one of the most important cities of the world, which is full of history and culture, Antalya, which is the capital of tourism and was called the paradise on earth during the Hellenistic period, and Izmir, which dates back to ancient times and is at the forefront with its touristic resorts, are the most favourite cities for health tourism. The physician quality in Turkey has also reached a level that sets world standards, which is very important. In addition, the fact that surgical operations in Turkey are relatively attractive in economic terms compared to other countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK and Germany is another important reason why we are preferred.

Is there a lot of interest in obesity (bariatric) surgery from outside Turkey?

Of course, the reasons I mentioned in the first question and extremely good hospital conditions are also very important for bariatric surgery because high-tech equipment is preferred in this surgery. Therefore, patients do not experience any uncertainty in this regard. So far, we have completed numerous bariatric surgeries without any problems and I am very happy with the feedback of our patients in this regard.

For example, what should patients pay attention to in gastric sleeve surgery, which has recently become the most preferred procedure?

Patients who decide to undergo such surgeries make a new start to their lives. In this respect, it is a very important decision. These surgeries also require strict discipline for the postoperative period. Patients should reduce the amount of high-calorie foods they eat and should do much more sport and exercise. These are the most important criteria for the success of these surgeries. I would like to point out that the increase in the consumption of processed foods and high-carbohydrate foods and the increase in the time spent in front of computers, televisions, game consoles, etc., in other words, the increase in sedentary life, is progressively increasing the problem of obesity all over the world. We frequently warn our patients about this subject before and after the surgery. In other words, although our patients return to their countries after their surgery, we continue to have online meetings with them. Our dietician also follows our patients over the course of a year. So far, all those who have chosen us for their surgery from different countries are extremely satisfied with their new lives.

What should patients do to shape their body after a gastric sleeve surgery?

Before the surgery, many of our patients experience low self-confidence due to excess weight. It’s a natural state. We, as surgeons, intervene in our patients in order to restore their lost self-confidence and solve their health problems. Procedures such as tummy tuck, breast lift, liposuction, arm and leg lift are among these interventions. Of course, sometimes urgent interventions are required, but most of the time we recommend our patients to wait about a year for such procedures. After all, our body is our most valuable treasure and we need to take extreme care.

Finally, apart from patients, physicians from many parts of the world also come to Turkey to be trained by you, especially in the field of bariatric surgery. What would you like to say about this subject?

Many universities and clinics, which attract physicians from all over the world for observation and training, have been established by our esteemed professors and have contributed to bringing our country to the first ranks in the field of medicine with advanced technologies. It is the greatest pleasure to increase our knowledge by sharing and I enjoy contributing to many of my colleagues from various countries.

This article includes a partner of an Espacio portfolio company


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