For more than twenty years now, the iris Network has built a reputation for its pioneering work in the field of Digestive Health. In fact, back in 1991 the department, led by Professor Guy-Bernard Cadière at the Saint-Pierre Hospital, carried out the world’s first laparoscopic (minimally invasive surgery) digestive surgery. Other firsts followed in robotic surgery and transoral incisionless anti-reflux surgery (where only the natural orifices are used). A number of surgical procedures have been codified in this department, which has already trained more than 5,000 surgeons from all over the world.
The resources available across the iris Network in terms of specialists and leading edge equipment make it possible for us to offer all types of digestive surgery: oesophagectomy, gastrectomy for cancer, the Nissen procedure, colectomy for cancer, colectomy for diverticulitis, cholecystectomy, hepactectomy, splenectomy, hernia repair, bariatric surgery (for obesity) and more.
Today, obesity is classified as one of the world’s most serious conditions and has become a major public health problem. In ten years, the proportion of the population, that is overweight, has increased from 10% to 40% in the majority of European countries. In Belgium, 39% of individuals are overweight. Carrying excess weight is a social phenomenon that can reduce life expectancy by as much as 10 or even 15 years and deserves the full attention of healthcare professionals as a whole.
The iris Network is ideally placed to meet this public health challenge: all its centres and hospitals have their own specialised multidisciplinary units composed of surgeons who are experts in this field, including internist-endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, psychologists and dieticians. We treat all patients with overweight and obesity problems and our specialist teams offer them solutions to meet their needs.
Back in 1982, the first Interdisciplinary Obesity Treatment Centre (CITO) was created at the Brugmann Hospital. Since then, an interdisciplinary team has also worked in obesity care at the Iris South Ixelles and Bracops Hospital sites.
In March 2010, the Saint-Pierre Hospital opened an Ideal Weight Clinic at the César De Paepe site.
Together, these teams devoted to the care and treatment of obese patients, have delivered several thousand consultations.
Patients whose body mass index is greater than 40, are considered to have major obesity and this results in serious health problems. In the majority of cases, simply adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet will not be sufficient to help such patients and only a surgical approach will be effective in ensuring they maintain weight loss over time.
The iris Network’s expertise in this field goes beyond our borders. The treatment of morbid obesity - because of the very nature of its victims who often present with comorbidities (such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, digestive, musculoskeletal, gynaeco-urinary, oncological and neuro-psychiatric conditions) - must be via a multidisciplinary approach. Before any surgery takes place, a pre-operative assessment is essential and this requires the input of specialists such as endocrinologists, internists, gastroenterologists, dieticians, psychologists, etc. Following surgery, a similar, patient-centred approach is put in place by the various practitioners concerned to ensure essential long-term follow up care.