Weight loss procedure without surgery

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
October 10, 2008 3:03:31 PM PDT
For the first time in this country, doctors are performing a weight loss procedure without a single incision. It's a new experimental option for obese patients who want to drop the pounds -- without having major surgery.

A nine pound weight loss in two weeks amazed Carrie Williamson. The 30-year old has been overweight since she was a child.

"I had done Meridia, Weight Watchers. You name it, I did it," she said.

That's why she volunteered to be the first American patient to undergo a new form of stomach stapling surgery without incisions. It's called Transoral Gastroplasty -- or toga.

"The thing that's unique about this is that it's all done through the mouth," said Dr. J. Christopher Eagon, assistant professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

Washington University surgeons stapled her stomach by passing flexible instruments down her esophagus to the stomach, where a restrictive pouch was created.

"The jaws open up, pull a portion of the stomach into the jaws, and then close it down and fire the stapler and that creates that tubular type of anatomy," he said.

The pouch collects food as it enters the stomach, giving the patient a feeling of fullness after a small meal.

"Because you take in so little food, you have to make sure you take enough protein -- enough nutrients," Williamson said.

In the pilot study, patients on average lost 40-percent of excess body fat within a year of the procedure.

Doctors say that's slightly less than gastric bypass, but patients recovered quickly and had a low risk of complications.

Carrie is blogging about her experience in the toga study. She wrote, "I did the bike for 30 minutes -- more than I ever thought I could do!"

"I had surgery on Wednesday and went back to work on Monday," she said.

A schedule-friendly procedure that has many of the weight loss surgery benefits -- without a single incision.

Researchers in Mexico and Belgium successfully tested toga weight loss over the past year. Toga patients stayed overnight in a hospital after the procedure, but doctors believe it will eventually be performed on an outpatient basis. The toga study is investigating 275 cases across the U.S. Volunteers who want to enroll must be 18 to 60 years old and be at least 100 pounds overweight.

For more information, please contact the Toga Clinical Study by visiting its website, http://www.togaclinicalstudy.com

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