Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Tool to Visualize Weight Loss

Usually one must change his or her lifestyle to succeed in weight loss and weight management. And commonly, the modification includes adherence to a restricted diet and an increase in physical activity. Because achieving weight loss and weight management goals is a mental and physical challenge, any assistance in reaching the goals is always appreciated.

Some feel that in order to reach a goal, one needs to be able to visualize the goal process. It is said that high-achievers can visualize attaining a goal. And the feeling of exhilaration the person feels while visualizing the achievement of the goal energizes the person and enables the person to reach the goal.

The Toronto company, Modiface Inc, has developed a tool it calls WeightMirror that allows someone to visualize his or her body based on various levels of weight loss. The company is planning to put kiosks using WeightMirror technology inside gyms, weight loss centers and stores to help those trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss.

We think WeightMirror might be a useful weight loss tool. Further, we believe that if WeightMirror and some other lifestyle modification techniques are combined, these tools may indeed prove to be powerful weight loss and weight management methods. A weight loss or bariatric center that makes use of new weight loss tools only enhances its attractiveness to potential weight loss clients.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reducing Internal Hernias After Laparoscopic Bypass Surgery

Bariatric surgery has been shown to be a more effective treatment for long term weight loss than diet, exercise or lifestyle modification. And, more and more, laparoscopic bariatric surgery is being used for weight loss treatment instead of open bariatric surgery.

However, as we mentioned in our August 10, 2008 blog post, a Mayo Clinic article reported that some complications were higher for laparoscopic bariatric surgery than for open bariatric surgery. Occurrences of internal hernias, after laparoscopic bypass surgery, are among these complications. And we indicated in the blog post that the potential for a high number of complications could be a threat to minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

This threat could be lessened, however, if a solution to the hernia problem could be found. According to research done at the University of Rochester, a material, currently used to reduce staple-line bleeding during gastric bypass surgery, may be used to reduce the occurrences of associated internal hernias.

The material is called bioabsorbable glycolide copolymer staple-line reinforcement (SLR). Patients who received additional operations after laparoscopic bypass surgery, where SLR had been used, experienced a reduction in hernias compared to those patients where SLR was not used.

We believe this to be important research, since mitigating the complications associated with laparoscopic bariatric surgery is good for the bariatric industry. Of course more research needs to me done. But if additional research confirms the preliminary results, the use of SLR will enhance the viability of minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Comments on the HealthGrades Third Annual Bariatric Surgical Study

HealthGrades recently released its third annual study on bariatric surgery. And the important headline from the study results is that bariatric surgical hospitals that have performed the most surgeries have less associated surgical complications.

Hospitals performing 125 surgeries [or more] per year had the lowest complications, and hospitals performing less than 25 surgeries per year had the most complications. HealthGrades rated the hospitals. And top rated hospitals had 65% percent fewer complications than the lowest rated hospitals.

This is useful information for the bariatric industry, since the study points to a specific strategic move a bariatric surgical center should make. It is this: A bariatric surgical center should strive to build or maintain an experienced bariatric surgical team.

The study results also represent useful information for potential bariatric surgical patients. The study indicates that a prospective bariatric surgical patient would do well to ensure that a chosen bariatric center has the requisite experience to minimize complications.

While the above study results are important, some of the other results from the study are also important. For example, there has been a decrease in inpatient bariatric surgery, and an increase in outpatient bariatric surgery. And bariatric patients are choosing less invasive forms of bariatric surgery.

There was one worrisome item, however, from the study. Although short term complications were lower for laparoscopic surgery than for open bariatric surgery, some long term complications were higher for laparoscopic bariatric surgery than for open laparoscopic surgery. Furthermore, as reported in a Mayo Clinic article, laparoscopic bariatric surgeries resulted in more leaks in intestinal connections and more internal hernias than the open surgeries.

We hope the causes of these complications can be determined. We feel that minimally invasive surgery is important to bariatric surgery. However, if laparoscopic surgery sometimes introduces more complications than open surgery, the potential complications could be a threat to minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bariatric Surgery without Any Incision

Bariatric surgery has proven to be more effective in providing long term weight loss than diet, exercise, drugs, or lifestyle modification. However, the surgery can engender trauma and associated complications. Therefore, extensive research is ongoing to develop bariatric surgical procedures that reduce the trauma and the potential complications.

Some of that research has resulted in a new incisionless endoscopic weight loss surgical procedure. The procedure, created by Satiety Inc, is called transoral gastroplasty or TOGA. On July 15, 2008, the incisionless procedure was used to perform bariatric surgery on a patient at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Incisionless surgery reduces the trauma, recovery time, and complications a patient can experience after weight loss surgery. In the incisionless TOGA system, flexible stabling devices are introduced into the stomach via the mouth. These devices are used to create a small stomach pouch that restricts food intake. The procedure is performed by surgeons, who view their surgical actions using a lighted scope that allows the surgeons to look inside the abdomen.

At least two other incisionless weight loss surgical techniques are employed today. However, these techniques are used to perform surgical revisions. These revisions are typically necessary to modify the stomach pouch created during a previous bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery. To continue to be effective at weight loss, sometimes the pouch needs to be made smaller.

One incisionless bariatric revision-oriented surgical procedure uses a system called StomaphyX created by EndoGAstric Solutions ™. And another procedure uses the EOS or EndoSurgical Operating System ™ developed by USGI Inc.

Being able to use incisionless surgery for the original bariatric surgery holds great potential, especially if the surgery proves to be effective in producing weight loss. One of the deterrents to bariatric surgery is the amount of invasiveness associated with the most effective forms of the surgery -- gastric bypass surgery for example. Therefore, incisionless weight loss surgery for the original procedure could be a good thing for prospective patients as well as surgical weight loss centers.


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