Scientists have tested a new technique on animals that they believe could prove to be as effective as obesity surgery
An increasing number of people choose to undergo bariatric surgery if they have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise.
However, the invasive procedure can be off-putting for many and scientists are attempting to develop minimally-invasive procedures that would be more appealing and carry less risk.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have now reported a method which suppresses levels of the so-called 'hunger hormone' ghrelin in pigs.
The technique chemically vaporises the main vessel carrying blood to the top section of the stomach, preventing the organ from making ghrelin.
Dr Aravind Arepally, associate professor of radiology and surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that in tests on pigs, gastric artery chemical embolisation (Gace) "produced an effect similar to bariatric surgery by suppressing ghrelin levels and subsequently lowering appetite".
He added: "Obesity is the biggest biomedical problem in the country, and a minimally invasive alternative would make an enormous difference in choices and outcomes for obese people."
The findings are published in Radiology journal.