Advancement in Bariatric Surgery Technology
Gastric imbrication is a new weight loss technique that allows surgeons more control over how much stomach restriction is accomplished during surgery, while providing the patient with a reversible solution to obesity.
The greater curve of the stomach, or the portion of the stomach that expands when a large meal is eaten, is the part that is removed during a sleeve gastrectomy. During a gastric imbrication procedure, a surgeon uses a medical device known as an EndoFLIP to fold the greater curve in on itself and suture the folds in place. After a gastric imbrication, the greater curve of the stomach will not be able to expand, limiting how much food a patient can eat at one time.
Gastric Imbrication vs. Sleeve Gastrectomy
Like a sleeve gastrectomy, a gastric imbrication causes weight loss because the amount of food and subsequent calories that can be consumed in one sitting is severely restricted. However, no portion of the stomach is physically removed during a gastric imbrication. This means that the procedure is reversible, unlike many other bariatric procedures such as the gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
The gastric imbrication also allows the surgeon to tailor the operation to the patient’s individual needs. Using surgical equipment known as the EndoFLIP, the surgeon can determine the exact diameter of the resulting stomach sleeve. A larger diameter of 20mm, for example, may be appropriate for a patient seeking weight maintenance instead of weight loss. A 13mm sleeve, on the other hand, would be better suited for promoting significant weight loss.
Gastric Imbrication vs. Adjustable Gastric Band
In addition to helping create a stomach sleeve without the removal of any tissue, the gastric imbrication procedure can also be used in place of an adjustable gastric band. An adjustable gastric band, such as the lap-band, is placed around the upper portion of the stomach to create a smaller upper pouch and larger lower pouch. The smaller upper pouch holds about four ounces of food, which must be partially digested before it can pass through to the larger portion of the stomach.
The gastric imbrication technique can be used to create a precisely measured opening between a small upper pouch and the larger portion of the lower stomach without requiring the introduction of any foreign objects into the body. Using gastric imbrications to suture the stomach allows an exact diameter to be set, negating the need for follow up “fills” and reducing the risk of slippage after surgery, which are complications often present following a gastric banding procedure.
EndoFLIP – New Technology for Gastric Imbrication
The EndoFLIP system used during gastric imbrications is a fairly new technology developed by Crospon, an Irish medical device company. At this time, only a handful of bariatric surgeons have extensive experience with the gastric imbrication procedure.
The gastric imbrication procedure is now available at the Surgical Weight Loss Center of Utah. If you are contemplating bariatric surgery and would like to know more about this new gastric imbrication procedure, contact us to speak with Dr. Cottam and Dr. Richards to determine if this weight loss surgery option would be beneficial for you.