While Brazilians are renown for their beautiful figures, recent studies have shown that the number of overweight people in this country is increasing as well as the number of people resorting to plastic surgery. In this interview we speak to Dr. Roberto Rizzi, a specialist in Obesity weight loss surgery.
1) Can you describe in lay man's terms what is involved with this type of weight loss surgery?
There are several procedures. I prefer the Gastric Bypass procedure because its safer and has fewer complications than other available weight-loss surgeries. Gastric bypass, which changes the anatomy of the digestive system to limit the amount of food a person can eat and digest. It is also the favored bariatric surgery in the United States.
2) How common is this kind of surgery in Brazil?
Brazil is the second country in the world that most performs Gastric Bypass Obesity Surgeries (USA is in the first place).
3) Who are the most common candidates for this kind of surgery?
Generally speaking, gastric bypass surgery is available for all people (male, female, young and old) who are unable to achieve or maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, are severely overweight, and who have health problems as a result.
Gastric bypass may be considered if the Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 35. BMI is calculated based on weight and height. The BMI can be calculated on our website www.robertorizzi.com
4) How does Brazil compare to other countries in terms of number of people overweight?
Obesity is a serious health epidemic in America. It targets one in four Americans. It is estimated that more than 90 million Americans are obese, a number that is predicted to climb to 120 million in the next few years. But it is not only in USA. Obesity is now a worldwide epidemic! Obesity in Brazil is very much on the increase as well, because of the increased availability of (fast) food (gaining energy) and more hours in front of TV or computer (using less energy).
5) There have been well publicized cases of models and teenager girls dying from anorexia in Brazil in recent months, is it common for people to die from obesity, or obesity related illness?
Anorexia is a different disease. It is a problem of being under weight. It is not an epidemic.
Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that is known to reduce life span, increase disability and lead to many serious illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
6) It is common for foreigners to come to Brazil for plastic surgery, but are they also coming for this type of procedure?
The reputation Brazil achieved in Plastic Surgery extends also to Obesity Surgery. Brazil offers modern, affordable and safe medical Obesity Surgery. The high quality, training and specialization of surgeons and medical staff contribute to Brazil being a worldwide reference in almost all medical procedures. São Paulo is considered to have some of the worlds best equipped hospitals and highly skilled physicians.
7) Is there a significant cost difference here, or any other advantage?
Cost of obesity surgery is significantly lower in Brazil than in many other countries. Also the quality and reputation of surgeons in Brazil makes many foreigners decide to come to Brazil for this procedure. I have patients from USA, China, Mozambique and other countries for these reasons.
8) What preparation is involved and what is the recovery period?
Surgical candidates go through an extensive screening process. Not everyone who meets the criteria for gastric bypass is psychologically or medically ready for the surgical procedure. My team of professionals, including a physician, dietitian and psychologist evaluate whether the surgery is appropriate.
I perform this surgical procedure laparoscopically in Brazil. Only small incisions are required which significantly decrease post operative discomfort and result in quick recovery. The hospital stay is as short as 2-3 days. We ask patients from overseas to stay two weeks before returning home.
9) Is it a permanent solution or does the patient have to take care not to regain weight?
The patient needs to make changes to the diet after undergoing weight loss surgery. The stomach will be reduced to a much smaller size and, as a result, the amount of food the patient can eat is very limited. In order to ensure good nutrition and health, the patient must pay very close attention to the types of food he/she eats. Foods that were well tolerated prior to surgery for obesity may cause discomfort afterwards. Our nutritionist discusses the diet with the patient before and after surgery so the patient can prepare herself/himself to make intelligent and healthy food choices.
The Gastric Bypass has been proven in numerous studies to result in durable weight loss (between 60 and 70%) and improvement in weight-related medical illnesses (such as diabetes). Half the weight loss often occurs during the first 6 months after surgery; the weight loss will peak after 18-24 months. The Gastric Bypass has resulted in marked improvements in quality of life.
Forums for further questions and answers are available in both sites below.
www.robertorizzi.com(English language site)