New Scar-Free Obesity Surgery
Doctors are testing a new kind of obesity surgery that does not involve cuts or scars. Doctors place a tube that is as thick as a garden hose down the throat to snap staples into the stomach. The scar- free procedure creates a narrow passage that slows the food as it moves from the upper stomach into the lower stomach, helping patients feel full more quickly and eat less.
The testing has been done on about 200 U.S. patients and 100 patients in Europe. After about 18 months, obese European patients have lost an average of about 45 percent of their body weight, said Dr. Gregg Nishi, a surgeon at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
While the two studies are still under way and only brief details are being released, Nishi said results “so far are slightly better than typical results with conventional stomach stapling.”
Lilliana Gomez, an administrative coordinator at Cedars-Sinai, was among the first Americans to have this scarless obesity surgery last year. Since her operation in August, she has lost about 40 pounds and dropped from a size 22 to a size 16. Gomez previously considered a gastric bypass operation, which is a more complex kind of stomach stapling that reduces the stomach to the size of a golf ball and reroutes the digestive tract. Gastric bypass is far more invasive and increases chances of malnutrition because it repositions how the stomach attaches to the intestines to restrict calorie absorption.
The new scarless obesity surgery is part of a new medical movement to perform surgery through body openings such as the nose, mouth, and vagina instead of making cuts. The idea is to reduce the chances of infections and pain, and to speed recovery. Further, since there are no scars, there are cosmetic advantages as well.
Side effects have been mild and include: perforation of the esophagus, sore throat, nausea and some abdominal pain.