One of the newest and most promising weight loss procedures is gastric plication surgery. The operation compares favorably to existing more-invasive bariatric procedures, offering patients minimal risk and quick recovery while producing similar weight loss results.
Like other bariatric operations, the procedure promotes weight loss by reducing stomach capacity to cause early satiety and limit calorie intake. Unlike other bariatric procedures, gastric plication does not involve stapling, cutting or removing stomach tissue or require a medical implant.
Based on preliminary results, gastric plication surgery for severe obesity appears to be a safe and effective weight loss procedure. The only downside at this time appears to be the lack of long-term data. This issue is the focus of several ongoing clinical trials. Interested patients may want to see if they qualify for one of the studies examining this promising new procedure.
Ongoing Clinical Trials
Laparoscopic Gastric Plication Operation for Patients With Severe or Morbid Obesity – This study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01207609) states that it is not yet recruiting participants, but lists a start date of December 2010 and an estimated completion date of December 2013. It is sponsored by Jaime Ponce, MD at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Georgia.
Surgical Intervention in Bariatric Patients: Excess Weight Loss in the Morbidly Obese Following Gastric Plication – This study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01077193) states that it is currently recruiting participants at Ohio State University Medical Center, with a start date of November 2009 and an estimated completion date of August 2013. It is sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery.
What is Gastric Plication Surgery?
Gastric Plication Surgery (GPS) is a “gastric sleeve” that resembles Sleeve Gastrectomy but does not involve stomach resection (permanent removal of stomach tissue with a stapling device) to reduce stomach capacity. Rather, the stomach capacity is reduced by folding the stomach in on itself and then stitching it together.
Benefits of Gastric Plication Surgery:
- Involves no stapling, cutting, or removal of tissue
- Weight loss results comparable to existing bariatric procedures
- Performed laparoscopically
- Does not cause malabsorption (like gastric bypass surgery)
- Does not require a medical implant (like gastric banding)
- Does not involve cutting away and removing a portion of the stomach (like sleeve gastrectomy)
- Procedure is easily reversed
- Offers minimal risk and quick recovery
- Currently the lowest cost weight loss procedure available
Outside of clinical trials, Gastric Plication Surgery, also known as Gastric Imbrication, Total Vertical Sleeve Plication, and Laparoscopic Greater Curvature Plication, is being performed by only a few doctors in the United States at this time, including: Dr. Brad Watkins at Cincinnati Weight Loss Center, Daniel Cottam, MD at Surgical Weight Loss Centre of Utah, and Sunil Sharma, MD at the University of Florida.
While short-term results to date have been promising for gastric plication surgery, ongoing clinical trials and the accumulation of data over time will give us a clearer picture of what to expect in the long-term. With further development and continued positive results, gastric plication surgery may be more widely available in the next few years.