Expert Q & A: What’s the difference between endoscopic weight loss procedures and bariatric surgery?

Apr 1 8:28am | juliajurgensen | @juliajurgensen

Cartoon of operating room

Written by Dr. Andrew Storm, Senior Associate Consultant at Mayo Clinic in Gastroenterology

Endoscopic bariatric (weight loss) procedures are generally performed without any incisions and without removing or re-routing any portion of the gastrointestinal tract as may be required in weight loss surgery. These procedures are all completed through the mouth within the stomach using long flexible instruments (endoscopes) which are able to place devices designed to help patients lose weight.

Examples of endoscopic bariatric procedures include fluid filled intragastric balloons, which delay the emptying of swallowed food from the stomach, and endoscopic suturing (endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty) to reduce the size of the stomach, which also results in delayed emptying of food from the stomach. Both procedures are intended to reduce the amount of food and number of calories that are able to be eaten to lose weight, similar to the effects of a sleeve gastrectomy surgery, where a large portion of the stomach is removed.

As endoscopic procedures are less invasive, the weight loss from endoscopic bariatric procedures is also typically less than with a surgical procedure. Also because they are less invasive, the recovery and symptoms experienced immediately after the procedure are typically less than with surgery – and most patients go home the same day as the procedure.

Most importantly, maintaining a strict diet, exercise plan and healthy lifestyle is critical to successful weight loss with both endoscopic and surgery options.

Connect with others who have had surgery talking about long term success and how to manage challenges in the Healthy Living support group.

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