New surgery technique for obesity

An operation that was once used to treat ulcers could provide a weight-loss solution, attendees at the plenary session for the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) in San Diego were told.

According to researchers, the new procedure would offer a middle of the road solution for obese people who can't get the weight off but are not ready to undergo major surgery.

The procedure is called truncal vagotomy and was used for severe cases of ulcer in the 1980s. It was then that it was found to have weight-loss effects, but at the time was not very popular due to the rise of weight-loss drugs.

But the continued growth of obesity as a problem in the US has brought the treatment once again into the limelight.

The study found that ten of 11 patients treated for obesity with this new procedure lost an average of 18.4 per cent excess body mass, with as little as seven per cent and as much as just over 44 per cent.

"Our study confirms that laparoscopic vagotomy is a very quick, safe and effective treatment for obese patients, especially for those whose weight gain is just getting to the point where it's driving other diseases," said Dr Thad J Boss, assistant professor for general surgery at the Medical Centre in Rochester.

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