Hospital to provide weight-loss operations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2007, 12:00am

A private hospital yesterday started offering three weight-loss operations but says the services are intended for health, not cosmetic, reasons.

The Union Hospital in Sha Tin is charging up to HK$111,700 for the procedures which include stapling, banding and inserting a balloon in the stomach.

Consultant surgeon Wilfred Mui Lik-man said the procedures would be offered only to people who were obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

'We are doctors, not beauticians,' he said. 'We reserve the right to reject people who blindly pursue slimness.'

A BMI of 21 to 25 - calculated from a person's height and weight - is considered normal for Asians.

Dr Mui said Union Hospital was the first private hospital in the city to offer laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, in which part of the stomach is closed off with staples. The other two procedures are laparoscopic gastric banding and bioenterics intragastric balloon. In gastric banding, a small, inflatable belt is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, restricting the amount of food consumed and giving a constant feeling of being full.

In the other procedure, an endoscope is used to place a balloon in the stomach, partly filling it.

Prices for a stay of up to four days in hospital, plus dietitian consultations and post-operation follow-ups, start from HK$45,450.

Hospital medical director Anthony Lee Kai-yiu said the hospital initially expected to attract 10 patients a month, from Hong Kong and the mainland.

With more mainlanders adopting western eating habits and obesity becoming more common, the hospital believed the services had great market potential, he said.