New Weight Loss Procedure Offers Alternative for Some

Addressing weight once and for all can be a big concern for people who are considered morbidly obese. If left unchecked, obesity can promote heart disease, diabetes and many other life-limiting conditions. While surgical procedures offer tremendous results and have helped thousands lose weight and keep it off, not everyone is an excellent candidate for operations like the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. A relatively new option is providing hope for those who simply cannot or are not willing to undergo an intense procedure. Known as the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, this non-surgical alternative is considered minimally invasive and has proven itself quite useful in promoting effective weight loss without the need for a scalpel.

The endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is designed to provide similar benefits to the traditional sleeve gastrectomy procedure that is performed surgically. The endoscopic version, however, takes about 40 minutes to perform and requires no cutting. Instead, an endoscope is inserted into the body. The scope carries with it a special suturing device that is used to shrink the size of the stomach, effectively limiting its holding capacity. Since the procedure involves no cutting, recovery time tends to be rather minimal.

Although lacking in some of the benefits associated with the sleeve gastrectomy, the endoscopic procedure has held up well in clinical testing. One study involving just under 100 patients treated in this manner showed about 18 percent weight loss after a year and roughly 21 percent over two years.

Obesity is a serious concern across the United States where an estimated third of the population is considered overweight. People who are obese find themselves at much greater risk for seriously life-limiting illnesses along with a host of other potential complications. Taking steps to address weight can greatly improve overall health. If obesity is a concern, speak with a healthcare provider for case-specific advice.

Additional Surgeries Common After Gastric Banding: Study

People who have undergone gastric band procedures to help them address obesity-related concerns may find themselves at higher risk for needing additional operations, a recent study concluded. According to researchers, about one in five people who undergo a gastric band procedure end up requiring additional surgery within five years.

The gastric band was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001. The procedure works by placing a band around the upper part of the stomach. The placement essentially decreases the size of the stomach, which means people have less room to hold food. The band’s tightness can be adjusted, which can prove to be a big benefit in some cases, such as if a patient becomes pregnant down the road.

Although gastric bands have helped thousands successfully lose weight, complications are not entirely uncommon. Bands can, for example, slip or erode within the stomach. These issues require surgical intervention to address.

The recent study that concluded the need for additional surgeries in about one out of five patients involved data related to more than 25,000 gastric band patients. The analysis showed that about 18.5 patients ended up needing at least one additional surgery to remove, move or repair their bands.

Although still available, the gastric band has fallen out of favor with many bariatric surgeons. Procedures such as the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are more readily offered now due to their long-term success rates. Although considered permanent, both procedures have a strong track record for helping people lose weight and keep it off.

People who are considered severely obese are at especially high risk for serious health complications. Taking steps to address weight can lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure, among other conditions. To find out more about bariatric surgery, consult with a licensed healthcare provider for case-specific recommendations.