HealthCheck

Weight loss without surgery?

Friday, April 17, 2009

No surgery. No pills. A new weight loss procedure may help people in our area shed the pounds. They're getting results without a painful operation.

It's a new procedure that is really working in other countries, now some lucky Houstonians will see if it works for them.

"TOGA" patient Zakiya Williams said, "I just wanted something to help me with food cravings and overeating."

So this young mother of three found TOGA on the internet. It's an obesity procedure that's likely to rival gastric bypass and lap band surgeries. Today she became a patient in a clinical trial to see how good it is.

"I'm excited. I'm kind of nervous, but I'm excited," Williams said. "I hope it helps me. I hope it works for me."

Memorial Hermann is one of nine sites where they're testing TOGA. It's a way to make you feel full by altering the shape of your stomach. It's all done through the mouth, without a single cut.

For the first time, it's weight loss surgery that's actually incision-free. Patients stay in the hospital about 23 hours and change their diet for a month. Some hope to lose 100 pounds.

UT Houston bariatric surgeon Dr. Erik Wilson explained, 'They have some discomfort because of chest tightness from the procedure, but it's mild. And they have a sore throat because we put some devices down their throat and that's mild as well. There's just less post-op pain and discomfort and their recovery seems to be quicker."

Dr. Wilson uses a device that goes into the stomach. He then reshapes the stomach by stapling it into a small, tube like shape. He says early results are promising.

"Almost as good as a lap band, not quite as good as gastric bypass, but still very good results," he said.

If results of this study are good, TOGA might become the first obesity surgery approved for people who are just overweight, not obese.

The UT Houston TOGA study has room for more Houston patients. Most of the cost is covered by the study. For more information, call the UT Houston Bariatric Surgery Center at 713-892-5500. You can also call toll free 1-866-678-8399 or visit www.togaclinicalstudy.com.

Outside the study, the procedure isn't available until the FDA approves it. That's expected in two to three years.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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