Internal Tummy Tuck: Gastric Plication

FRESNO, Calif.

Bariatric surgery is helping a lot of people take control of their weight and their lives, but re-routing organs to achieve that goal can be scary for those considering operations. Now, a new technique that has the potential to be undone is givingpatients a less invasive option. We'll tell you how it measures up.

Up the slide and down the slide, swinging, and soccer--Ryan is full of energy. And because of her weight, his mom couldn't keep up.

"I didn't want to sit on the sidelines and just watch him go through life I wanted to enjoy it with him," Tracey Bartholow, a woman who had gastric plication told Action News.

Of all her options, she decided to take part in a case study for gastric plication.

"We're not removing anything. We're simply in-folding the stomach on itself," Stacy Brethauer, a bariatric surgeon at the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic told Action News.

The stomach's sutured and becomes tubular. Its volume is reduced by 80 percent so patients can eat less and still feel full. The operation's less invasive than gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve procedure. They involve removing a part of the stomach or re-routing the intestines.

"We've seen overall less risk with this procedure than we have with some of the other procedures that we do," Dr. Brethauer said.

While still investigational, it could be used to augment a lap-band --a removable device to aid weight-loss. There's also a possibility gastric plication could be un-done.

"We think that it's going to be feasible to restore the anatomy so that you can convert it to another procedure if you needed to," Dr. Brethauer added.

Bariatric surgeon Stacy Brethauer says gastric plication can help get rid of 50 to 55 percent of excess weight. That's more than the lap band, but less than the gastric sleeve or bypass and if your body mass index is over 50 this may not be right for you.

"So, most people who want to lose somewhere between 50 and 100 pounds are going to do quite well with this operation," Dr. Brethauer explained.

Tracey's thrilled with her results. As she continues to keep her weight down, she's able to keep up with Ryan.

"I'm now in the game with him, and that's exactly where I wanted to be," Bartholow said.

Gastric plication patients are out of the hospital in one to two days. Because it's still investigational, right now insurance doesn't cover it. It can cost between $15,000 and $22,000. Tracey tells us she paid more than $18,000. Dr. Brethauer tells us it's only available in a handful of centers across the U.S right now.


Tora Vinci
Media Relations
Cleveland Clinic
(216)444 -2412

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