Stomach Folding vs. Implantable Gastric Stimulation Device

Stomach Folding

A Lighter Me does not recommend the stomach folding surgery. For a better option, speak with one of our coordinators about a gastric sleeve surgery.

Overview

Stomach folding, also known as gastric plication, is a relatively new procedure that is considered experimental and is performed laparoscopically. It is a minimally invasive surgery, and it usually takes just about an hour to complete. During the procedure, the surgeon makes five small incisions in the abdomen in order to reach the stomach. The surgeon then folds the stomach into a smaller, more compact size, typically reducing its volume by about 70 percent. Depending on the size of the stomach of the patient, the surgeon will do one or two folds, and the folds will be held with non-absorbable sutures. This surgery is potentially reversible, so if the stomach needs to be returned to its original size for any reason, that will most likely be possible. With a smaller stomach, patients typically feel fuller faster, and they often have a decrease in appetite as well. This surgery does not usually result in any severe food restrictions. With surgery and lifestyle changes, many patients are able to reduce or eliminate their need for blood pressure, diabetes, and depression medications.

Patient Eligibility

In order to be eligible for this surgery, individuals must have a BMI of at least 27. The ideal candidate will have a BMI of 40 or more, or they will have a BMI over 35 with at least one weight-related health problem.

Average Weight Loss Results

Patients can typically lose 2 pounds per week after the completion of this procedure. In total, most patients lose between 40 and 60 percent of their excess body weight within a year.

Recovery Time

Patients often must stay in the hospital for a day or two after the surgery, but within a week, they can usually return to work. Full recovery takes about 4 weeks. The first 2 weeks after surgery, the patient is required to consume an all liquid diet. The patient will then be able to add in thicker liquids, yogurt, and fruit. Eventually, regular foods can be consumed, but most people are only able to eat up to four spoonfuls of food per meal.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, but oral medication can be given to minimize these effects. Even without medication, these side effects typically disappear within a week.

Cost

The average cost of stomach folding is approximately $10,000 to $15,000. Insurance does not typically cover this procedure.

References:
https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2012-03-09-stomach-origami.aspx

Implantable Gastric Stimulation Device

Overview

Implantable gastric stimulation is a relatively new way to treat obesity. It does not change a patient’s anatomy or rely on malabsorption issues for weight loss, and it takes less than an hour to complete. It is also reversible. Using a laparoscopic approach, a device that is an electrical pulse generator, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted along the front part of the abdomen. Electrode leads are then placed in the gastric muscular wall. Once the surgery is complete and the patient has recovered, the device will be turned on, and the gastric stimulation will begin. The purpose of the device is to make patients feel fuller faster, which may help with overeating and binge eating. It is believed that when the device stimulates the stomach, a message is sent to the brain telling it that it is full.

Patient Eligibility

The ideal candidate for this procedure has a BMI over 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40 plus serious weight-related health problems.

Average Weight Loss Results

Since this is a relatively new procedure, there is not a large amount of data available regarding weight loss results. In general, it appears that patients typically lose between 5 and 17 percent of excess body weight from implantable gastric stimulation. It has been reported that some patients did not lose any weight and others actually gained weight after this procedure. Approximately 80 percent of patients have reported some weight loss, and 60 percent lost more than 10 percent of their body weight within 2 ½ years. In general, it appears that diet and lifestyle changes are necessary for weight loss to occur.

Recovery Time

Most patients are given approximately 4 weeks to recover from the procedure. Once the recovery is complete, the stimulation will begin.

Common Side Effects

Possible side effects from this procedure include abdominal pain, generalized pain, fever, and flatulence. Nausea, constipation, and hypoglycemia may also occur, but they are relatively rare.

Cost

The cost of this procedure varies, but it is likely to fall somewhere around $15,000 in the US. Insurance may or may not pay for a portion of this procedure.

References:
https://commons.pacificu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1242&context=pa