Saturday, April 19, 2008

Laparoscopic vagatomy: Gastric bypass surgery alternative

Rochester, NY
Thousands of people have weight loss surgery each year. This can mean massive weight loss, but the surgery doesn't come without risks. News 10NBC has the latest on an investigational approach that's helping patients shed pounds a whole lot safer.

Losing weight was never easy for Garth Michaels. “I've felt fat all my life, really,” he said. He topped out at 320 pounds.

“I really was just up against a wall. I was praying daily. I didn't know where to turn,” Garth said. Then, he found Doctor Robert Lustig.

“Everyone in the world seems to think that obesity is just one problem, you know, you eat too much, exercise too little and it couldn't be further from the truth,” Dr. Lustig said.

Lustig says the vagus nerve, which tells the brain when the body's full, plays a big part in obesity.

“Every single thing the vagus nerve does is designed to get energy into your fat cells,” Dr. Lustig said.

He's testing an easy-on-the patient surgery called a laparoscopic vagotomy where he actually cuts the vagus nerve.

“The severe hunger that many obese patients report seems to be just completely obviated. It goes away completely,” said Dr. Lustig.

An early study shows the 20-minute procedure led to an average 18 percent excess weight lost. More >>

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