Going abroad for obesity surgery has been popular for a variety of reasons including cost-saving. However, the time has changed and the entire world is reeling under the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. The novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc on society, including healthcare services. Almost all countries have postponed elective procedures by imposing restrictions on accessibility to non-urgent medical care like bariatric surgery.
Though the impact of the pandemic is still far from over, many countries are gradually working out ways to restart the economy. Countries like Mexico and Turkey have already started strategizing about opening medical travel, while India is gradually easing lockdown restriction and starting elective healthcare procedures for local patients. Thus, it is evident that medical travel for obesity surgery will also start in the near future. However, it will remain very important to adjust to the new normal and strictly follow the safety measures. You must consider several important aspects regarding COVID-19 while traveling abroad for obesity surgery.
Patients suffering from severe diabetes, hypertension or diabetes can increase the risk for stern COVID-19 complications. Such health conditions can be rapidly improved with obesity or metabolic surgery procedures. Many experts believe that Coronavirus will never get completely eliminated and it may persist as many other viruses like HIV. So, we have to look out for preventive measures to stay protected from the consequences of COVID infection and bariatric surgery can rapidly improve obesity, diabetes and hypertension. This also means that the demand for obesity surgery abroad will rise again and you should keep an eye on booking your procedure once things start reopening.
The geographical area where you are planning to visit for obesity surgery must attain a sustained reduction rate of new COVID-19 cases for at least two weeks before resumption of such elective procedures. Appropriate state, county or municipal authorities must authorize such resumption in that area.
There should not be any compromise on the safety of the patients by the obesity surgery clinics abroad. You should check if the healthcare facility has proper sanitization measures along with:
The healthcare facility must ensure pre-surgical screening policies for health providers and patients. This must include, but not restricted to:
Constant motivation and careful follow up help to prevent post-obesity surgery problems from occurring. Follow-up after obesity surgery is extremely important so you have to discuss with the healthcare provider how things are going to work out post-surgery, especially during the time of restriction due to coronavirus. Usually, after two to six weeks of the surgery, patients have a follow-up appointment with a bariatric surgeon or nurse. Also, you have to appoint a dietician who will help you to maintain your smaller stomach.
The healthcare institution offering obesity surgery must ensure you to provide adequate and complete information regarding the particular characteristics of this health emergency along with the risks involved in performing your chosen bariatric surgery during the crisis of COVID-19. There must be special considerations for its intra and post-operative evolution as well. This means your consent for obesity surgery with COVID considerations must be well informed.
People suffering from diabetes or obesity have been suspended with their obesity surgery during the pandemic. According to the experts, the backlog of operations could increase the risks of deteriorating health. Lockdown and social distancing policies might restrict adherence to lifestyle interventions such as physical exercise and a healthy diet. This can worsen the health of patients affected by obesity, hypertension or diabetes. Thus, these patients must constantly communicate with their doctors and follow healthcare and lifestyle advice. This will prevent from deteriorating health conditions and increase the chances of successful bariatric surgery.
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