'Surgery-free' stomach stapling under development

July 29, 2008 2:21:52 PM PDT
Stomach stapling has been an effective treatment for obese patients looking lose weight and add years to their lives. Until now it was a fairly invasive procedure that involved an incision. Washington University doctors are developing a "surgery-free" version, using specialized tools that snake down a patients throat to the stomach, which is then stapled into a small pouch. So far the procedure has only been done on two people in the U.S.

Researchers say this experimental version reduces the risk that comes with traditional surgery. Doctors say, if approved by federal health officials, the treatment could revolutionize weight loss surgery.