Incision-Free Weight Loss Surgery Being Tested In Several Cities

For people who have followed a sensible diet and regular exercise regimen but still weigh more than they should, an innovative incision-free weight loss surgery may help. It’s called the POSE procedure and intended for people who have a BMI of between 30 and 40. However, this incision-free weight loss alternative may eventually be recommended for people who are less obese as well.

The POSE incision-free weight loss technique involves threading a flexible tube down a patient’s throat and into the stomach. The tube contains a camera and surgical instruments. Once the tube is in place, a doctor stitches folds into three areas of the stomach.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of ten locations in the United States where this incision-free weight loss surgery is the focus of clinical trials. Other areas where this weight loss intervention is taking place include Miami, Florida, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Speaking to a Kansas City FOX affiliate, Dr. Sreeni Jonnalagadda discussed the procedure saying, “We target those areas in the stomach that are responsible for communicating with the brain about fullness, and so once you’ve had this procedure done, you feel fuller after eating small amounts.”

Robin Donnelly is one patient who has received this incision-free weight loss procedure and is satisfied with the results. Although Donnelly had a BMI that was not high enough to allow her to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, she said that as time went on, her weight went up while her exercise level declined. She also admitted to eating more than her activity level justified.

After having the incision-free weight loss procedure in March though, she said her appetite was immediately suppressed, and has remained that way ever since. Prior to having the weight loss procedure done, she said she “never knew what ‘full’ was.” In addition to having lost 16 pounds in two-in-a-half months, Donnelly reported being more optimistic about her future.

People who take part in one of the incision-free weight loss procedure trials will be randomly assigned to either have the POSE procedure performed, or a control surgery where the stomach is not altered to cause appetite suppression. They will also not be told whether they received the true incision-free weight loss surgery until 12 months later. All participants are also required to take part in a comprehensive weight loss support program.

Potential risks of the incision-free weight loss surgery include perforation of the stomach, and bleeding. However, in Donnelly’s case, she only reported having a sore throat, and was able to go home the day after her procedure.

If this incision-free weight loss technique proves to be safe in effective, it may receive FDA approval and be widely available outside of the trial cities in as little as 18 months. Previous studies have shown that people who have received the procedure were able to lose about 20 percent of their excessive body weight.

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