Doctors at Fortis Escorts Hospital here have performed the first single-incision bariatric surgery in north India to treat a 31-year-old woman for obesity. The surgery for weight loss left only one scar and also treated the patient's related disorders such as acidity, insomnia, snoring and high cholesterol.

Ajay Sharma, gastro-intestinal surgeon, said here on Thursday that the new laparoscopic surgery reduces the risks of infection, speeds up healing and helps reduce post-operative pain. The specialised surgical procedure was conducted here this past week for the first time in any northern State.

A few attempts made for the single-incision surgery in Delhi had earlier failed. Dr. Sharma said the surgical technique required surgeons to learn specialised skills to perform the operation through a solitary incision against four or more in the traditional surgery, in which each incision has the potential to become infected and cause pain.

Dr. Sharma said the woman patient weighed 98 kg and her body mass index (BMI) was 41 against 27 for a normal person. She did not get any relief from the regular yoga, diet control and fat loss medicines consumed for quite some time.

Doctors at the hospital conducted tests such as sonography, liver function, thyroid and hormone profiles on the woman and concluded that her obesity could be controlled by bariatric surgery. A single 2.5-mm incision was made in the abdomen during the operation and the patient fully recovered within three days without any stitch marks or scars.

Besides the removal of fat in the minimally invasive surgery, a portion of the stomach was detached to decrease the food intake and reduce the release of hormones responsible for deposition of fat. Dr. Sharma said the woman lost seven kg within 12 days and resumed her daily routine.

The single-incision surgery was earlier performed at Fortis Escorts Hospital for gallbladder, appendix and hernia. Dr. Sharma said more weight loss surgeries though single-incision had been planned during this month after the first successful bariatric operation.

Single-incision laparoscopic surgery is gradually gaining ground in several other areas of medicine as well. For the obese people, the procedure leads to long-term loss of weight, recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors and a reduction in mortality.