A Dublin hospital that carries out bariatric (weight loss) surgery expects to see a 100% increase in the number of such surgeries this year.
Bariatric surgery makes the stomach smaller, which restricts food intake and the absorption of food.
According to Dublin's Mater Private Hospital, last year, it carried out 29 bariatric surgeries. This year, it expects to carry out over 60 - a 100% increase.
Of those operated on in 2018, 65% were women who were mainly in their mid-40s and 50s. The remaining 35% were men with an average age of 45 years.
"By the end of 2019, our team will have performed double the number of procedures as last year. This is welcome news as early surgical intervention can greatly improve health outcomes for obese people that have no other effective options," commented consultant general surgeon, Mr John Conneely.
He insisted that bariatric surgery is ‘one of the most effective methods to aid and maintain weight loss when coupled with tailored dietary and physical exercise programmes'.
"In some cases, it is the only scientifically backed solution that can achieve long-term reductions in food intake by physically restricting the digestive capacities of the body," he said.
However, he emphasised that bariatric surgery is not a quick-fix and takes time and commitment.
"It is a non-reversible intervention that requires significant post-operative commitment. Following a GP referral, the patient undergoes a comprehensive assessment that lasts a minimum of six months before the Mater Private bariatric team will consider if weight loss surgery is an appropriate option.
"As part of the programme, the team will also work with the person to develop a long-term weight loss plan in addition to providing support after surgery," Mr Conneely explained.
He added that once performed, the procedure 'can prevent future health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, thereby greatly improving a patient's quality of life'.