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Surgery undoes damage

mumbai Updated: Jun 24, 2010 03:25 IST
Sai Raje
Sai Raje
Hindustan Times
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Three years ago, Anita Fernandes (name changed), a BPO executive, weighed almost 130 kg, suffered from severe type-2 diabetes, hypothyroidism and high blood pressure.

A combination of drugs, diet and exercise didn’t work.

“I thought I was never going to lose weight or lead a normal life ever again,” said Fernandes. Doctors recommended bariatric surgery, which involves removing a part of the stomach to make it smaller and cuts down food intake.

But the surgery, which Fernandes underwent in 2008, didn’t improve matters.

“There was a stapling error in the surgery, which left a leak in my food pipe. The hole in my oesophagus caused food to leak out and travel in the adjoining abdominal cavity. It led to the formation of infected fluid and pus,” said Fernandes.
Her abdomen was then attached with a drain pipe to remove the infected fluid.

“This type of leakage problem after bariatric surgery is rare but can happen after a surgery involving the oesophagus or the stomach. In Fernandes’ case, the infection damaged her internal organs,” said Dr Shashank Shah, laproscopic and obesity surgeon, who finally treated Fernandes this January.

By the time Shah performed corrective surgery, the point where the drain pipe had been inserted into her abdomen had festered and developed into a large oozing wound.

“Whatever I ate or drank would drain out of that hole in my abdomen. It was horribly painful,” said Fernandes, who lost 55 kg in six months after the bariatric surgery.

In January, about six surgical procedures had to be conducted for almost 10 hours to undo the damage done to Fernandes’ organs (see box).

“It was one of the most complex surgeries that I had performed. The most delicate task was to separate all the internal organs that had clumped together as a reaction to all that infection in the abdomen,” said Shah.

Now, six months after the surgery, Fernandes is leading a near normal life.

“I can eat regular food again without a worry and can exercise how I want to. Best of all, I am not a diabetic any more,” she said.