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The latest in weight loss surgery: stomach origami

Posting in Food

Can a new type of surgery, based on origami, provider a safer alternative to a gastric bypass?

Weight loss surgery in both the U.S. and abroad has become a last-resort for those who are attempting to combat obesity, and feel it is the only option left to regain control of their weight and eating habits.

However, they are dangerous procedures. The most invasive methods -- such as the gastric bypass operation -- has an approximate morality rate of 7 to 15 percent. Even if you survive the procedure, there is the possibility of complications -- including hemorrhages, hernias, infection and ulcers.

The techniques for reducing the size of the stomach and maximum amount of food or drink a body can tolerate have been refined over the past decade, and now there is a new option for weight loss patients – known as gastric plication.

The new surgery, currently being offered as a clinical trial, is available at UC San Diego. In an attempt to offer a safer, less invasive option, Santiago Horgan, MD and his team are testing a new method of reducing the stomach -- by folding it in an origami-like fashion.

"This minimally invasive surgery is a new choice for patients who are more than 30 pounds overweight," said Horgan, director of the UC San Diego Bariatric Metabolic Institute. "By folding the stomach, we can reduce the volume by 70 percent. Patients can expect to lose up to 2 pounds per week following the procedure."

'Gastric plication', based on the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, is potentially a reversible operation which is performed laparoscopically -- also known as keyhole surgery, a minimally invasive surgical method.

During a one-hour procedure, one to five small incisions are made to reach the stomach, where the surgeon places the folds. Depending on the size of the stomach, either one or two folds are created using non-absorbable sutures.

Instead of rerouting the stomach or removing part of the organ, the stomach folds are expected to encourage a drastic reduction in appetite, while removing the need for severe food restrictions.

Gastric plication requires hospitalization for one to two days, and candidates must have a BMI of at least 27 to qualify. It may not have the same dramatic results as a gastric bypass, but it may be a lot safer -- and reversible in cases where dietary habits do not go back to unhealthy standards.

Watch the video below to see the surgery in action:

(via USCD)

Image credit: ISA Media

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure