This device called the EndoBarrier offers an alternative to weight loss surgery with a minimally-invasive surgical procedure. Each year there are 220,000 weight loss surgeries each year. Many studies have shown that obese people who had weight loss surgery had a lower death rate than first expected and also see improvements in Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These individuals also have a better sex life post-surgery.
What is the EndoBarrier?
The EndoBarrier is a procedure not yet approved in the United States and is currently being used in various clinical trials with results and hopefully approval by 2015. It is a flexible thin polymer sleeve that is inserted into the beginning of the small intestine with an endoscope through the patient’s mouth. According to UK surgeons that have performed this procedure, the process takes just 15 minutes.
One doctor, Fernando Ovalle MD, the director of the Diabetes & Endocrine Clinical Research Unit at the University of Alabama-Birmingham is the main leader of one EndoBarrier trial in the states. He says that the device is clever and could be helpful in providing a helpful treatment option for those who don’t want to endure a surgery or who simply can’t afford it. According to Ovalle, results are close to that of gastric bypass surgery in regards to weight loss and lower hemoglobin AIc levels. While some researchers are optimistic about the procedure others such as Daniel H. Bessesen, chief of medical endocrinology at the Denver Health Medical Center is less positive because of where the device is implant and the fact the device is expected to move like a muscle.
Some side effects of this procedure are dizziness, abdominal pain and vomiting, which can last for weeks. Some complications also warrant removal in some patients. In order to approve this procedure in the United States, these issues need to be understood and avoid. This is most likely because the device erodes through the wall of the intestine overtime.
Many researchers feel EndoBarrier is just a temporary fix and there isn’t anything that can replace the benefits of weight loss surgery. While this would add to the treatment options available, it is best suited for those that cannot have bariatric surgery safely.
While the treatment itself seems promising, it is still being researched in order to provide a safe way to lose weight for patients. By taking extra care to study the device, Americans can be sure that if and when the process is approved, it is safe and has been deemed effective.