A novel weight loss surgery called gastric plication, that involves the stomach being folded into a smaller, more compact size, is currently a new clinical trial option at UC San Diego Health System for individuals wanting weight-loss surgery that does not permanently alter their anatomy or require an implanted device.

Santiago Horgan, M.D., chief of minimally invasive surgery and director of the UC San Diego Bariatric Metabolic Institute, said:

“This minimally invasive surgery is a new choice for patients who are more than 30 pounds overweight. By folding the stomach, we can reduce the volume by 70 percent. Patients can expect to lose up to 2 pounds per week following the procedure.”

According to Horgan, the 1-hour procedure is comparable to the art of origami. Gastric plication is performed laparoscopically and is potentially reversible. In order to reach the stomach to place the folds, 1 to 5 incisions are made in the abdomen. One or two folds (depending on the size of the patient’s stomach) are then created with non-absorbable sutures.

Horgan, explained:

“After surgery, with a smaller stomach size, a patient feels fuller faster and is likely to have an actual decrease in appetite. If, for some reason, we need to return the stomach to its original size, we can do so. Also, since the patient’s anatomy is not rerouted, the patient does not have severe food restrictions.”

Individuals undergoing the procedure are only hospitalized for 1 or 2 days and can return to normal activities in one week. Candidates must have a body mass index of at least 27.

The procedure not only helps with weight loss, but also has associated benefits according to Horgan. Several patients are able to reduce their diabetes, depression and blood pressure medications. These long-term results are the result of a combination of surgery, exercise and healthy eating.

This clinical trial surgery was performed by Horgan as well as Garth Jacobsen, MD, and Nikolai A. Bildzukewicz, MD, of UC San Diego Health System.

Written by Grace Rattue