Obesity is a growing problem in the United States and around the world. According to the most recent estimates, two-thirds of the US population is overweight, and at least one third are considered obese. “The problem is bad, and it’s only getting worse,” said Dr. El Chaar during the interview.
What is alarming about those US national statistics is that children are also becoming obese at a very young age. Consequently, these children are more prone to remain obese when they get older. But the bad news does not end here. Studies show that obesity is associated with a myriad of other health problems like diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Because of the urgent need to address the problem of obesity, Dr. Maher El Chaar, like many other bariatric surgeons, dedicated his career fighting obesity, which is now one of America’s most pressing health issues with bariatric surgery. According to Dr. El Chaar, bariatric surgery is one of the safest and best available options available to patients who suffer from obesity to achieve meaningful and sustainable long term weight loss.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery entails the alteration of the anatomy of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract in order to create a smaller stomach (or pouch) and induce some malabsorption of nutrients in order to achieve weight loss. However, the issue is not limited to weight loss. “The beneficial effects of bariatric surgery are not limited to weight loss, bariatric surgery is now considered metabolic surgery because of the effect that surgery has on the level of gut hormones which can lead to the cure of metabolic disorders including diabetes” said Dr. El Chaar when asked about the beneficial effects of surgery.
Dr. Maher El Chaar is currently the fellowship director of Bariatric Surgery at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Pennsylvania, United States. He is also the author of “Dr. E’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery…The Weight is Over.” He was recently recognized as one of the top surgeons in “Guide to America’s Top Surgeons.” and also received the Obesity ASMBS political action committee award in recognition of his dedication to advancing surgical care through advocacy. Dr. El Chaar’s passion, however, has been the use of new innovative medical technology in order to improve the outcomes of bariatric patients and decrease postoperative pain. According to Dr. El Chaar, Robotics can help bariatric surgeons make an already safe procedure even safer and therefore help more patients achieve a healthy weight.
“Robotic surgery is one of the best advancements that we have witnessed in bariatric surgery in the past few years, and I believe that this technology has the potential to change the way we practice surgery in the near future,” said Dr. El Chaar.
What is robotic surgery?
According to Dr. El Chaar, during robotic surgery, the surgeon sits at a console next to the patient and operates through small incisions using tiny wristed instruments. The robot translates every hand movement in real-time to bend and rotate the instruments with precision. “The advantages of robotic surgery are better patient outcomes and less postoperative pain” said Dr. El Chaar when asked about the advantages of robotic surgery over the standard laparoscopic approach.
“The fight against obesity is a long and tough fight, and as bariatric surgeons, we need to use every weapon at our disposal including new technology like robotics to be able to perform better and have a long-lasting and positive impact on our patient’s lives” concluded Dr. El Chaar
If you want to learn more about Dr. Maher El Chaar’s quest as he innovates the world of Bariatric Surgery using Robotics, click here to visit his Instagram account.