Study: Beat obesity with safe, non-surgical weight loss treatment


Obese people struggling with weight loss can now opt for safe, minimally invasive, non-surgical weight-loss treatments, finds a new study.

Radiologists have developed a new image-guided treatment called bariatric arterial embolisation (BAE), which blocks blood flow to a certain part of the stomach that could help obese patients lose weight.

“Currently, interventions to treat obesity include behavioural modifications, diet and exercise, medications and surgery. We’re excited about the promise of BAE as another tool for health care providers to offer patients in the effort to curb this epidemic,” said Clifford Weiss, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University in US.

The findings showed that compared to a surgical gastric bypass procedure, BAE is significantly less invasive and has a much shorter recovery time.

Though the results are still preliminary, BAE appears to be effective in helping patients lose a significant amount of weight in the short and intermediate term.

All patients demonstrated weight loss and dramatic hunger reduction levels after undergoing the treatment.

The participants showed an average excess-weight loss of 5.9 percent, after a month.

After six months, the excess-weight loss increased to an average of 13.3 percent.

The treatment starts by feeding a small catheter through a patient’s arteries, via an incision in either the groin or the wrist, to an area at the top of the stomach called the fundus, where the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin is produced. Tiny beads are injected through the catheter to decrease blood flow to the fundus.

For the pilot study, the team enrolled seven severely obese, but otherwise healthy, adults with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 40 to 60, far above the obesity threshold level of BMI of 30.

After the treatment, researchers tracked the subjects’ weight loss, ghrelin levels, hunger and satiety assessments, quality-of-life (using surveys), blood pressure, and adverse events at one-, three- and six-month marks.

In these first seven patients, bariatric embolisation was safe, with no major adverse events. There was weight loss and dramatic reduction in hunger levels. Also, ghrelin levels toned down and quality-of-life scores improved.

The study was presented at the ongoing Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

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