Gastric Plication: Advantages and Disadvantages

The surging adult obesity rate has contributed to the booming demand for bariatric (weight loss) surgeries around the world. People in need of significant body mass reduction are now increasingly opting for weight loss surgery procedures to tackle their weight issues.

Today there are several types of bariatric surgeries that promise to significantly reduce the BMI of chronically obese patients.

The different types of bariatric surgeries include the Gastric Bypass, the Lap-Band surgery, Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Vertical Banded Gastroplasty and newer procedures called Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Plication.

These surgical procedures are done on the stomach and/or intestines to alter the normal digestive process which in turn help obese patients lose weight.

What is Gastric Plication?

Gastric Plication may be the hottest and safe option in bariatric surgery segment to get rid of excess body weight surgically. Also known as gastric imbrications, laparoscopic greater curvature placation or stomach folding, it is a restrictive bariatric surgical technique in which a surgeon reduces stomach volume by folding the grater curvature of the stomach inwardly, reducing the stomach volume by 70%.

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With the introduction of new techniques, technologies and pioneering surgeons, gastric plication is quickly becoming a hit among obese patients who have failed to lose weight through traditional means of weight loss.

Using the laparoscopic technique, the surgeon first makes five or six small incisions in the abdomen and then inserts a video camera (laparoscope) and long instruments through these small incisions to sew one or more large folds in your stomach.

Following the surgery the stomach takes form of a ‘sleeve’ or ‘long, thin tube’, similar to a gastric sleeve surgery, but unlike the gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach cutting, stapling or removal of the stomach is not required in gastric plication.

Also billed as less invasive procedure, the surgery doesn’t even involve re-routing intestine or implanting foreign devices and takes approximately one to two hours to complete.

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The gastric plication is potentially reversible and can be converted to another procedure if required.

Although gastric placation surgery is considered safe and effective in producing substantial weight loss in obese patients, it is still vital that the prospective patient is closely evaluated to ensure suitability for the weight loss surgery.

Advantages
The surgery is often performed laparoscopically, which means smaller surgical cuts, shorter recovery time, and reduced chance of risks and complications.

It is completely reversible. Sutures used to fold the stomach can be removed if necessary, and the original stomach capacity can be restored.

Following the surgery, the stomach’s nutrition absorbing capacity remains intact.

The surgery doesn’t cause a decreased or limited absorption of nutrients by the small intestine.

Gastric plication does not require removal of stomach, intestinal rerouting or implantation of any foreign device-no staples, no bands, no fills, no adjustments.

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No loss of stomach tissue following the surgery.

Patients can expect to lose between 40% -70% of their excess weight in the first year after surgery.

The surgery may improve or resolve several obesity-related comorbidities, including hypertension and diabetes.

Disadvantages
As with any laparoscopic procedure, there are always risks of infection, injury to surrounding organs and bleeding.

Although rare but there is risk of a leak from the suture line used to fold the stomach.

This form of weight loss surgery has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since the gastric plication is relatively new and is still in its investigational studies, insurance companies do not cover the costs of this procedure, therefore patients are required to self-finance for the surgery.

There is not much data and information available about the long-term complications and success rates of gastric sleeve.

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