Stomach folding is a new form of operation used to help individuals lose significant amount of excess weight who have failed to do so with dieting and increasing physical activity.
It is a less invasive operation than traditional surgical methods aimed at achieving weight loss and belongs to a group of operation termed restrictive procedures.
Restrictive procedures achieve weight loss by limiting the physical amount of food that can be consumed by the individual.
A stomach folding procedure is an operation that is performed under general anaesthesia. It is performed as a keyhole (laparoscopic) operation.
Once the surgeon has accessed the stomach, they are able to make several inward folds in the wall of the stomach. This reduces the stomach’s size by approximately seventy per cent. Using specialised tools on the end of the portals inserted in to the stomach, the surgeon then holds these folds using absorbable sutures.
The new stomach, significantly reduced in volume, significantly limits the amount of food which is needed to eaten before feeling full. Thereby, leading to significantly loss of weight.
Traditional operations for weight loss normally involve cutting and stapling the stomach and sometimes rerouting parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Due to the invasiveness of the surgery there are significant risk factors associated with these traditional methods. Stomach folding is a safer alternative but there are still risks factors associated with this surgery including:
- Anaesthetic risk
- Wound infection
- Blood clots (due to relative inactivity during recovery)
- Nausea and fatigue following the operation
- Deep abdominal infection sometimes leading to sepsis
- Ongoing reflux symptoms (heartburn)
Following a stomach folding procedure, patients may be required to stay in hospital for a number of days to monitor any signs of post operative complications. During this time, dietary specialists will aid patients in beginning their initial post operative liquid diet.
Once tolerated well, this liquid diet will be replaced with a pureed diet before moving on to a softer food diet.
Although a newer form of weight loss surgery, some early research indicates that patients can expected to lose between forty and seventy per cent of their excess weight. As with all forms of weight loss surgery, patients are required to make significant lifestyle adjustments including performing the right amount of physical activity and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.