Promising non-surgical procedure for weight loss  

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Promising non-surgical procedure for weight loss  

Going under the knife for weight loss is often a last resort for anyone who has struggled for years trying to reach a healthier weight. Bariatric surgery, like all surgery, has risks associated with it and major lifestyle changes in regards to eating.

However, there may be a new answer for better managing weight loss without the side effects or risks of surgery. A new non-surgical procedure, called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) requires no incision so no scar, is simple and requires no hospital stay. Preliminary research is showing it could have the potential of helping moderately obese people lose weight and more importantly, keep it off.  Complications rates are also lower compared with surgery. The research showed that only 1% of ESG patients had a complication, such as a perforation or “leak” in the stomach.

This new procedure involves the doctor threading a scope down the throat and into the stomach, then using a suturing device attached to the scope to cinch the stomach in ultimately shrinking it to a banana-sized pouch. By making the stomach smaller, a person will eat less and feel full, thus resulting in weight loss.

This procedure was first performed in 2013 at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  People with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 (more than 100 pounds overweight) or those with a BMI of 35 or more, and who had a obesity-related condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, qualify.

Since that time, studies have shown that in the short term, people who have undergone ESW will lose on average about 15% of their body weight. This new study is the first to report five-year results. The good news is that patients who had had the procedure, were still maintaining a 15% weight reduction, five years later.

The downsides of ESG are that like all gastric bypass procedures for weight loss, there is the potential for people to gain back the weight. In addition, most insurers won’t pay for ESG.  The cost of the procedure is about $12,000 so a patient would have to foot the bill.  At this time, ESG is not widely available as only about two dozen medical centers in the U.S. perform the procedure.