Stomach Origami: A New Way to Surgically Treat Morbid Obesity

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The minimally invasive procedure known as gastric plication involves folding the stomach so that its total volume is reduced significantly.

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Dr. Santiago Horgan, a pioneer in the field of surgical treatment of morbid obesity, is now exploring the use of an investigational procedure known as gastric plication to help patients lose weight. Horgan, who is the director of minimally invasive surgery at the University of California, San Diego Health System, explained in a press statement that the procedure is "a new choice for patients who are more than 30 pounds overweight." (A patient must have a BMI of at least 27 to qualify.)

The procedure involves folding the stomach so that the volume is reduced by up to 70 percent. "Patients can expect to lose up to two pounds per week following the procedure," Horgan said. Post-op patients are generally hospitalized for one to two days and are able to return to normal activities within a week.

From the announcement:

Horgan compares gastric plication, a way to fold the stomach into a new functional form, to the art of origami. Gastric plication is potentially reversible and is performed laparoscopically. During a one-hour procedure, one to five small incisions are made in the abdomen to reach the stomach to place the folds. Depending on the size of the patient's stomach, one or two folds are created with non-absorbable sutures.

After the surgery has been completed, patients have been shown to have a decrease in appetite, according to Horgan. Because "the patient's anatomy is not rerouted, the patient does not have severe food restrictions," he said.

A number of patients treated with the procedure have seen reduction of hypertension symptoms and have been able to decrease their use of blood pressure, diabetes, and depression medications. These benefits are attributed to a combination of the surgery, healthy eating, and exercise.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

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