Ten surgeries and several hospital stays later, 26-year-old Nneamaka from Nigeria still found herself confined to the wheelchair she was forced to use after an accident four years ago. The accident had required doctors back home to amputate her left leg above the knee. What complicated her recovery and curbed her ‘independence’ was the fact that Nneamaka had to cope with an excess weight of 100 kg. and a BMI of 60.

Challenging

The young girl then came to the city’s Moolchand Hospital in the hope that doctors here would help her walk again, albeit with prosthesis.

“Nneamaka, weighing 154 kg, underwent a successful ‘Sleeve Gastrectomy’ procedure last month wherein her stomach was resized to reduce the food holding capacity,” said Dr. Ashish Bhanot, senior gastro-laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon at Moolchand Hospital.

Stating that the surgery was challenging, Dr. Bhanot noted that the procedure involved inherent risks, poor respiratory reserves and difficult positioning of patient on operation table. “However, post surgery the patient’s condition improved.”

“When the patient came to us it was becoming difficult for her to fit in a wheelchair because of her continuously increasing girth and the fact that she was bedridden. After all evaluations and discussions with orthopaedic and rehabilitation teams, we had decided that the only ray of hope to get her walking again was bariatric or weight loss surgery,” said Dr. Bhanot.

The option posed several challenges in the case as the patient had been confined to a bed for quite some time and the surgery carried a very high risk of post-operative thromboembolism.

Several odds

“Her weak bones, poor strength of fat-laden muscles and decompensate respiratory reserves and above all 100 kg. of excess body weight were the odds against a successful outcome. But we are glad that the team took the challenge,” added Dr. Bhanot.

The recovery phase of the patient, according to the doctor, is good. “Nneamaka has already lost 20 kg and is expected to lose 80 per cent of her excess body weight in two years. She will lose approximately 50 per cent of excess body weight in first six months and rest in another one year and six months, then it will stabilise. We will then look at giving her prosthesis which will give back her independence,” added Dr. Bhanot.

The patient has undergone a stomach resizing procedure to reduce food holding capacity