UCI Health offers weight loss procedure to shrink stomach size without surgery

January 27, 2016

Although bariatric surgery remains the most effective obesity treatment, only 1 to 2 percent of qualified patients choose this option, due to reasons that include limited access, patient preference, associated risks and high cost. UCI Health now offers obese patients a minimally invasive non-surgical solution that reduces the size of the stomach, contributing to weight loss by restricting the amount of food it can accommodate. Patients also experience a feeling of fullness sooner and for a longer period of time.  

Unlike traditional bariatric surgery, which requires cutting through skin and tissue to alter or remove parts of the anatomy, no incisions are made during this procedure, the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. A flexible tube called an endoscope with a mechanical suturing device attached is inserted through the patient’s mouth and threaded down the esophagus to the stomach. Once there, the Overstitch™ Endoscopic Suturing device sews three rows of stitches, constricting the pouch-like stomach into the shape of a sleeve.

“Candidates for the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty procedure are typically obese patients with a body mass index of 30 to 35 who prefer an alternative to, or don’t qualify for, traditional bariatric surgery such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or vertical sleeve gastrectomy,” said Dr. Kenneth Chang, executive director of the UCI Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, UC Irvine School of Medicine. “This novel treatment helps bridge the gap in managing obesity by offering an effective weight loss intervention at a lower cost and less invasiveness than the traditional bariatric surgery options.”

The procedure can be repeated or revised throughout the patient’s life, as well as be performed on patients who have previously undergone traditional bariatric surgery. Over time, some of these patients may experience a gradual stretching of the stomach or the exit from the stomach pouch, leading to weight gain. The suturing device can also be used to revise, or tighten, this gradual stretching.

“There is no need for a major operation. It’s like tightening braces,” Chang said. “The ability to go back in and tighten areas that may stretch helps our patients manage their obesity. This is a treatment that is tailored specifically to meet each patient’s needs.”

 To schedule a consultation, call the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center at 888-717-4463.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.