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Bariatric Endoscopy at UChicago Medicine

Endoscopic weight loss procedures are less invasive, non-surgical methods for weight loss.

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Lose Weight Without Surgery

A new alternative to traditional weight loss surgery is helping people jump-start their weight loss.

UChicago Medicine’s Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics is the first program in Chicago to offer the non-surgical procedure that shrinks the size and volume of the stomach. 

The endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, which is also called endoscopic stomach sleeve or ESG, is a nonsurgical weight loss method. Unlike traditional gastric sleeve surgery, the entire procedure is done through the mouth without requiring an incision.

This type of endoscopic bariatric procedure is a safe, effective alternative for patients who aren’t ideal candidates for traditional bariatric surgery, or who prefer a nonsurgical weight loss solution.

Off to a Great Start

When Gregory Fulham, 62, thinks of the extra weight he used to carry, he visualizes the heavy boxes of reds, whites and rosés he lifts in his job as a wine consultant.

A typical case of wine weighs about 45 pounds. Fulham has dropped more than 50 pounds and is still losing. "I feel better, I look better and it's easier for me to move around," he said.

In January 2017, Fulham became the first person in Chicago to undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), a new nonsurgical weight loss procedure offered at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT). 

ESG and other endoscopic therapies for weight loss are designed for patients with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. During the procedure, while the patient is asleep, the physician threads a flexible tube — called an endoscope — through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Using a device attached to the endoscope, the physician then stitches and tightens sutures, decreasing the size and volume of the stomach.
“ESG is designed to help patients jumpstart their weight loss,” said gastroenterologist Christopher Chapman, MD, director of bariatric and metabolic endoscopy, who performed the minimally invasive endoscopic technique that reduced Fulham’s stomach’s size by 70%.

“I was particularly drawn to the idea of no incisions,” said Fulham, who was back at work five days after his procedure. 

A dietitian worked with Fulham to plan well-balanced, lower calorie meals. “I eat my normal foods, even the spicy stuff, just not as much,” he said. 

He lost nearly 15% of his body weight in the first three months after the procedure and his BMI decreased from 39.7 to 33.9. His double chin disappeared and his blood pressure went down. Customers and friends began commenting on how different he looks.

“I had never been successful at weight loss before,” Fulham said. “This procedure has been a miracle for me.  And it may have even saved my life.”


Who is a good candidate for endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty?

ESG and other endoscopic weight loss treatments are designed for patients with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. UChicago Medicine’s  team evaluates each patient to help them find their personalized option for reaching their weight loss goal. This approach means patients with higher BMIs, who might have previously been ineligible for the procedure, can now consider this option.


What happens during the procedure?


While the patient is asleep, UChicago Medicine experts thread a flexible tube called an endoscope through their mouth and into their stomach. Using a device attached to the endoscope, a surgeon stitches and tightens sutures that constrict the stomach, reducing it to the size of a banana. The procedure takes about an hour to an hour and half. Most patients can go home the same day. 


What kind of results can patients expect?

Changes in lifestyle and diet are always the most important factors in maximizing weight loss.  However, in the first 3-6 months, patients can expect to lose 10-15% of their body weight. Typical weight loss in the first two years after an ESG procedure ranges from 30-60 pounds. 

 

Learn more about how UChicago Medicine is advancing the boundaries of science, medicine, health and wellness.

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Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty Jump-starts Weight Loss without Incisions

In January 2017, Fulham became the first person in Chicago to undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, a new nonsurgical weight loss procedure offered at the University of Chicago Medicine's Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT).

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Endoscopic Bariatric Therapy