Incisionless Lower Cost Weight-Loss Surgery Coming Soon
January 3, 2010
(ChattahBox) – Bariatric surgery has typically been a procedure performed exclusively on people who are dangerously obese, for the purpose of losing weight, but that will likely change soon with new innovations. The weight-loss surgery is currently only approved for people with a BMI of 40, or 35 with complications, but new “incisionless” procedures, some still in the early stages of development, are expected to make weight-loss surgery a far more common option for even moderately overweight people and diabetics, according to the Los Angeles Times. They mimic the results of more invasive surgeries that require hospital stays, but these new procedures, one of which is completely incisionless, can be done in an hour, which lowers risks and costs. A noninvasive technique called TOGA, or transoral gastroplasty, which is furthest along in clinical trials, works by having a surgeon insert a flexible tube through the mouth into the stomach and then uses staples to create a pouch that limits the amount of food that can be consumed. A small study using Toga showed that patients lost an average of almost 25 pounds after three months with no major complications reported.
Today’s laparoscopic gastric bypass and gastric banding, restrict stomach size so that patients feel full more quickly but usually require one to three days in the hospital. The surgery cures more than half of Type 2 Diabetes cases, and eases symptoms for heart disease, sleep apnea, joint problems and other problems. Enthusiasts see expanding the group of people who can have this surgery as a way of holding down health care costs, since the procedure which now costs $50,000, could comes down closer to the $10,000 range. A report released in November from the American Public Health Assn. projected that healthcare costs related to obesity would quadruple in 10 years, accounting for 21% of healthcare spending. But it’s not without danger: 19 percent of patients experience dumping syndrome, which is what it sounds like, an involuntary vomiting or defecation. And nutritionists still advocate people with a BMI of 25 to 30, which is considered overweight but not obese, use diet and exercise changes as the treatment of choice.