Expected procedures, such as a stomach balloon, will transform the field in the next few years, says Dr. Marc Bessler.
Marc Bessler: I think that there’s certainly some possibilities coming up, some of the things that are out there are sort of implanted devices, they’re not available in the United States yet, trials may be coming soon. One is a balloon, you know, the old stomach balloon didn’t work real well but there’s better designs now. They can be put in for about six months and they cause people to lose about a third of their excess weight, a quarter to a third of their excess weight, which is about as good as the best diets out there. But this is really a simpler way for patients to do it in a sense. On the other hand they have to be removed and like I said, once you remove it, unless you change your life habits the weight can come back. There’s other implanted devices that are coming along the way also and I think these are gonna be temporary aids. But there are some devices now that allow stapling from within the stomach so it’s not truly even surgery anymore, we’re talking about going in down the mouth, through the esophagus, into the stomach and grabbing the walls of the stomach and stitching them or stapling them together to cause restriction to food intake to make you feel full faster. So it’s not an operation where anything’s being cut from the outside for sure and those things are potentially exciting in that they may have some permanence and even if they don’t have permanence and need to be touched up, they can be redone like an endoscopy going down into the stomach without surgery. Right now they still require general anesthesia, some of these but some of them don’t and others of them with time and refinement may not require, so it may be like coming in for an endoscopy to just have a look in your stomach, here we just put down a device and can put some more stitches in or some more staples in and those things are coming. We’re actually planning some trials at Columbia with those things in the very near future, actually some are just starting up now and so I think we’re gonna learn a lot about this over the next three to five years.
Recorded on: 6/16/08