In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

June 5, 2014

Stitching for a better fit and better health

By In the Loop
Barham Abu Dayyeh, M.D., discusses a new way to shrink a person’s stomach with KSTP-TV.

Barham Abu Dayyeh, M.D., discusses a new way to shrink a person’s stomach with KSTP-TV.

It’s that time of year again when our winter dietary transgressions come back to haunt us: swimsuit season. But beyond the obvious cosmetic concerns, an unhealthy weight can also lead to more serious health conditions. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options to help us lose weight, even though some of them, like gastric bypass surgery, are more extreme. But as KSTP-TV reports, doctors at Mayo Clinic have now developed a “creative and new” weight loss procedure called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty that’s “already changing lives.”

One patient who's taken advantage of the new procedure is Cherish Grabau, who tells KSTP that she wasn't always overweight. But then, life took over and Grabau found herself putting the needs of her children and family ahead of her own and neglecting her health. To compound matters, her job as coach of the Stewartville (Minnesota) High School cheerleading squad also meant a lot of eating on the run. So it was only a matter of time before she began carrying extra weight. Grabau knew she had to do something. And when other approaches failed, she learned that Mayo Clinic was conducting a study on the new procedure, which is meant for those with a body mass index between 30 and 35, which is where she fell. 

Mayo physicians Christopher Gostout, M.D., and Barham Abu Dayyeh, M.D., developed a new way to shrink a person’s stomach, with the use of an endoscope and … wait for it … a small sewing device. And they say the procedure offers weight-loss hope to patients like Grabau who need to lose weight but would rather not go the gastric bypass route. When all is said and done, a patient's new stomach is about the size of “an uncooked hot dog” with “a small tube" that can only comfortably hold smaller portions of food. Dr. Abu Dayyeh is quick to tell KSTP that the new procedure is not meant to be a cure-all for our dietary overindulgences. "If you abuse the tool, it is going to fail you,” he says. “But if you use it and work with it, it is going to reap its benefits."

Grabau says she now feels full after a cup of food and is learning to stop eating when she reaches that point. As she tells KSTP, “I just have to push it away. I'll box it up, take it home, throw it away, whatever I have to do. Just stop.” Her discipline thus far has netted her a weight loss of 37 pounds. (Disclaimer: The tool is not covered by insurance.)

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Tags: diet, Dr. Barham Abu Dayyeh, Dr. Christopher Gostout, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, gastric bypass, Innovation, Patient Stories

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