Weight loss tune up

May 18, 2009 3:19:44 PM PDT
Obesity is a growing health issue in this country. About 93 million Americans are obese. And when diet and exercise don't work, 200,000 of them will turn to gastric bypass for help. But gastric bypass doesn't always do the trick. Now, a new procedure that "tunes up" the weight loss process may be the answer. This "tune up" helps people who have already had bariatric surgery, like Paul Martin. Paul has already lost 150 pounds.

"The difference is a 52 pants compared to a 40," said Paul. "The difference is going to any store and buying an extra-large shirt instead of a 3X or 4X."

Paul's motivation for the bariatric surgery to lose weight was his family, especially his little girl, and work. As an engineering project manager, Paul walks two miles a day. But just a few years ago, he couldn't even make it up the stairs.

"I remember walking around one of our eight-story buildings one day, and he accused me of trying to kill him because I was walking him through the stairwells," said co-worker Carol Edmiston.

Paul underwent bariatric surgery, which gave him a new lease on life.

"I had a stomach the size of a football," Paul said. "Now, it's the size of my thumb."

But a few months ago, he gained 40 pounds.

"It was limiting what I could do work-wise," Martin said. "I was considering, will I have to retire?"

Instead, Paul got a Stomaphyx.

"We wanted to see if we could give him a kick start to get some of that weight off," said Dr. John Morton, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Stanford, California.

"Over time, the connection between the little stomach and the intestine gets a little bit bigger, and what we're able to do is cinch up that area," Dr. Morton said. "It's a lot like making pleats in a skirt."

An endoscope is inserted into the stomach, where surgeons suture the opening between the patient's intestine and the small pouch that had been created in the original bariatric surgery -- reducing the new stomach pouch from 20 millimeters to 14 millimeters.

Paul lost 25 pounds in three months.

His goal is to get down to 250 pounds. He has 10 to go. The Stomaphyx device was FDA approved in 2007.