ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic doctors have unveiled a new minimally-invasive procedure to help patients lose weight.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty is a two-hour outpatient procedure for overweight patients looking to shed up to 40 pounds.
Dr. Christopher Gostout and Dr. Barham Abu Dayyeh began the clinical trial in 2012 with 10 patients. Cherish Grabau was one of them.
"I've lost 40 pounds and it's happened fairly quickly," says Grabau.
Grabau met the patient qualifications for an Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, which included a BMI range between 30 and 35.
Candidates for the new technique do not fall into the category of morbidly obese and typically won't qualify for gastric bypass surgery. The procedure is targeted at people who are overweight looking to change their lifestyle and prevent health problems tied to weight gain.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty constricts the stomach without surgery. Instead, a mechanical suturing device is fixed at the end of an endoscope that's small enough to fit through the esophagus.
The flexible instrument threads through the body to the stomach where one row of sutures reshapes and the other forms the sleeve. This constricts the stomach to give recipients a feeling of being full sooner and for longer periods of time.
Patients undergo a screening process and nutrition counseling for weeks before being sedated with a general anesthesia for the procedure.
"It's not just a simple, miracle cure or magic bullet. You still have to do a lot of work, take responsibility and will power, but it was a great tool," says Grabau.
Dr. Gostout said the procedure differs from gastric bypass surgery in that it can be reversed, repeated and adjusted to fit a person's needs.
"It gives us the signal that we can go back down, tighten things up and remodify the sleeve that we create...we can do that throughout the patient's life. The procedure is a lot simpler to perform, it's an opportunity for many, many more patients," says Gostout.
The new procedure is estimated to cost about $10,000 or one-fourth the amount of gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Gostout and his team have trained doctors from Boston, St. Louis, Miami, Texas and California to perform the procedure.