New No-Surgery Weight Loss Procedure Shows Promise

New No-Surgery Weight Loss Procedure Shows Promise

Cheryl Denby had tried absolutely everything to shed of those pounds.

However, almost half a century age and she was becoming more obese, miserable and her weight had started to cause her serious health problems.

"I was in pain most days, my back, my knees, and it was hard to do daily things like laundry, grocery store, just getting up to get dressed." said Denby. "I used to joke with my friend I just want to be able to tie my shoes without cutting off my air supply. That was a big deal, so I was unhappy."

Although Denby was a patient for usual weight-loss surgeries like, gastric bypass or lap-band surgery, she was nervous about undertaking a surgical procedure and recovery.

Fortunately, interventional radiologists have recently developed a new weapon against obesity: a minimally invasive alternative to gastric bypass called bariatric arteriale embolization or better known as BAE.

She is one of 7 patients nominated to be part of a BAE experimental trial. Within the first three months, she has effectively lost thirty pounds.

For BAE, interventional radiologists thread a catheter through the wrist or groin to gain access to specific blood vessels in a precise area of the stomach. Once they zero in on their target, they inject microscopic beads to block the blood supply to this spot where the body's "hunger hormone" ghrelin is produced.

The decrease in blood flow results in what is reported as an eighty percent decrease in hunger. And the beads have even been safely used in heart and uterine procedures for many years.

Dr. Clifford Weiss, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, presented the early findings of the obesity trial at the Society of Interventional Radiology's annual meeting this month.

"This is essentially designed to be an outpatient procedure that takes under an hour with very little recovery time and very high safety profile," said Weiss. "In our patients we saw 6 percent weight loss at one month, 9.5 percent weight loss of 3 months and 13 percent weight loss at 6 months."

“The patients in the study also enter a comprehensive weight management program to learn new lifestyle and dietary approach”

"They take a whole multi-faceted approach and they don't just put me out there," said Denby. "They let me know that this still takes work."

Dr. Weiss describes BAE as a happy medium between diet and exercise and invasive bariatric surgery.

"It fits in that zone between the two where there are a lot of treatment gaps," he said. "I think it adds a tool to the toolbox for the obese patient."

Denby says she still has a long way to go before she is at her ideal weight. But, with each passing day and recent changes to her diet, a much healthier path is followed.

"I was so ready to give up and now I feel so hopeful," said Denby. "I can beat this. Have fun without feeling that weight that this is literally emotionally and physically that I felt was holding me back."