Experimental weight-loss surgery 'incisionless'

June 3, 2009 4:21:59 AM PDT
A new kind of weight-loss surgery is generating quite a buzz because it shrinks the stomach without a single incision. It's an experimental procedure called TOGA, which stands for transoral gastroplasty. It's not yet available to the public.

Nine medical centers across the country are testing the surgery, which is basically a different form of stomach stapling. But the entire procedure is done with flexible instruments that are passed down a patients throat.

Surgeons then staple together a pouch, about the size of a egg, which restricts the amount of food a person can take in.

In Chicago, researchers are presenting for the first time early results and a video demonstration of the procedure. They say 273 people are taking part in their study. Some got a got the real thing and others did not.

Dr. Kai Nishi says it's too early to tell if people will lose as much weigh with this as other conventional treatments, but he's hopeful.

"To jump to an entirely new for, of operating is a huge leap in technology, and this is definitely one of the most exciting that's come around, especially in terms of the benefit if offers patients," said Nishi, a bariatric surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The TOGA technique is one of several "incisionless" surgeries being highlighted at the Digestive Disease Week convention taking place in Chicago.


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