LOSING A FEW pounds usually entails cutting calories, hitting the gym and generally resigning oneself to a life of poached chicken, steamed broccoli and constant hunger. People who are overweight but not morbidly obese generally don’t qualify for bariatric weight loss procedures such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy surgeries.
But as a newer alternative, Dr. Clark Warden of Surgical Specialists of LA offers a non-invasive procedure aimed at those who don’t need to lose 100 pounds or more. Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty is a non-invasive procedure in which the physician inserts a tiny camera with a suturing device down a patient’s throat to the stomach. The surgeon then sews a pattern of stitches in the stomach, altering its size and shape so the patient will feel full while eating less. “The procedure is designed for people who have a BMI of at least 30 but less than 40 and are having trouble taking off the pounds with conventional diet and exercise methods,” Dr. Warden explained.
As one of the largest bariatric centers in the South, Surgical Specialists boasts a team of seven surgeons. Currently three of the surgeons perform Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty. “There are only a handful of surgeons who do this in Louisiana and we are the only ones who offer it in the New Orleans area,” he said. The procedure itself is rather new, having been established for just over two years. But Dr. Warden has had much success with it. He cites two patients, a husband and wife, who had the procedure done several months apart. Barbara Aguilar lost 30 pounds in three months, while her husband, Alfonso, lost 30 pounds in just one month. They are both thrilled with their results.
Dr. Warden contends that many overweight people have a problem metabolizing food. Most of them have been overweight their entire life. When they lose weight, their body compensates by reducing their metabolism to virtually zero. “It’s difficult for some obese people to maintain the weight loss because many of the hormones involved in metabolism regulation are in disarray,” he said. Studies show that weight loss surgery has the effect of reigniting those hormones and increasing metabolism.
Because it’s non-invasive, the side effects of undergoing Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty are minimal compared to the more involved bariatric surgeries. Mild nausea and lack of appetite are the main symptoms. The average weight loss is 20 percent of the patient’s body weight. “The culture here in New Orleans revolves around eating, so many patients worry that they won’t be able to enjoy food after surgery,” Dr. Warden said. “They can still have the king cake. Just a smaller slice.”
Surgical Specialists of LA has locations in Metairie, Covington and Slidell. For more information call 877-691-3001 or visit whyweight.com.