Are there weight loss procedures on the horizon that will minimize risk, be less invasive, and yet still result in substantial weight loss? Maybe.
For years, the surgical treatment of choice has been Roux-Y bypass. While this approach results in weight loss and improvement or even cure of diabetes, it carries with it the risk of major complications and even death. While Lab-Band surgery is less invasive than Roux-Y bypass, it too requires surgical incisions.
Enter alternative therapies which are less invasive than traditional surgery, but more invasive than diet restriction alone. The most drastic of the new procedures entails inserting a tube into the stomach-endoscopy-and stapling the stomach to create a tube-like structure that restricts the amount of food that can be ingested. A less drastic approach is the insertion of a device called the EndoBarrier. This device acts as an artificial intestinal lining, blocking the absorption of nutrients from ingested food. Lastly, there is a device called the Full Sense, which is designed to fool the body into thinking it’s full and consists of a disc placed at the top of the stomach.
For now, these approaches are promising, but not proven. In the short term, surgery or band insertion will remain the procedures of choice for patients who are committed to losing weight.