Gastric Plication Facts

Gastric plication is a new bariatric procedure fairly similar to the gastric sleeve. It involves folding the stomach into a sleeve or a pouch which reduces your normal food intake. Unlike other surgeries in this field, it does not involve the removal of a part of the stomach and it does not rearrange any part of the intestines.

After recovery your compulsion to eat will be lessened and your appetite will be satisfied with lower amounts of food. This in turn enables you to lose weight at a faster rate and helps you to push towards a healthier lifestyle. Find out if this is the right procedure for you.

What’s the procedure like?

In basic terms, gastric plication means creating a smaller pouch or sleeve out of your stomach, accommodating less food and moving it at a slower rate. This in turn lowers your appetite. As opposed to the gastric sleeve, plication does not achieve this through the removal of a large part of the stomach, but medical stitching instead.

This means that for some time (current estimates say approximately 1 year) the procedure is reversible without any significant complications. The restrictive effect of the bariatric procedure is achieved without removing any parts of the stomach, massively restructuring it or adding any foreign objects into it.

Since it does not restrict the digestive tract, there will also be fewer issues with absorbing nutrients such as vitamins and minerals beyond eating smaller amounts in general. You will feel the need to eat less, which allows you to lose excess weight more easily. The procedure is still fairly new, however, and research is still ongoing.

Advantages

  • Does not remove any parts of the stomach
  • Does not interfere with the digestive system
  • No addition of foreign objects
  • No stapling or adjustments needed
  • Reversible (for a certain amount of time)
  • Significantly reduces food intake
  • Fewer food restrictions than with other bariatric procedures

Disadvantages

  • May cause long-term nausea (up to a month after the surgery)
  • May cause less weight loss than with other bariatric procedures
  • Still experimental
  • Rare risk of leakage

Indications

Gastric plication is indicated for people with a BMI starting from 30. Any conditions that worsen with high body mass, such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, etc. are also taken into consideration. Before the choice is made about any procedures, the bariatric surgeon will help you go over your options and recommend what might be the best solution.

The procedure may be an option for people who cannot pursue other bariatric surgery options due to various risks. Prior consultation with the surgeon can help determine whether this is the case and also take into consideration any risks involved with the gastric plication procedure.

Recovery from the operation

  • Operation time: ~1 hour
  • Hospital stay: 2 days
  • Recovery time: 4 weeks
  • Work leave required: 1 to 2 weeks

After the surgery, you will need to subsist on a liquid diet for at least a week. The following two weeks allow for thicker liquids like soups and juices, eventually leading to semi-soft foods. After 4 weeks you may start your new diet, which consists of smaller meals, which slowly but surely starts your weight loss process.

Gastric plication does carry a higher risk for long-term nausea after the operation. Generally, it subsides after a week or two, but may last up to a month. For any immediate complications, you will be kept in the hospital for two days.

To start your new life, you will be given a diet plan and instructions by the surgeon or the bariatric nurse. Standard procedure also means the availability of support and check-ins for some time after the operation.

Gastric plication still under research

It is important to note that since the gastric plication procedure is fairly new, research is still ongoing on how effective and safe it is overall. If you are considering this, your surgeon can go over all the risks together with you and help you determine whether it is the right option. As the procedure is reversible for some time after the operation, immediate complications and difficulties with settling in can be remedied.

Some studies have shown effectiveness with weight loss as equal to the other bariatric procedures. Some have shown smaller effect than compared with the gastric bypass and the gastric band, but greater effect than with the gastric balloon. The procedure has mixed reviews from patients for now, with some showing fast weight loss and others some complications having emerged.

The procedure remains of great interest to surgeons and patients alike thanks to the fact that it does not involve removal or restructuring of the stomach or the intestines in any way. Your surgeon can help you consider whether gastric plication is suitable for you.

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