Diet and exercise are always the best recipe for weight loss. Sometimes- morbidly obese patients may not be able to lose enough weight. Surgeries such as gastric banding and gastric bypass can then be done and are effective.
Still like everything else in life there is no free lunch in the universe. These surgeries have significant risks and side effects. Along comes a new procedure, which is minimally invasive and in a very small study effective without serious side effects.
The procedure is called bariatric arterial embolization. Basically, this procedure involves placing a catheter into an artery through an incision in the groin or wrist. The catheter is then fed into an artery which supplies a part of the stomach called the fundus.
In this area the hunger stimulating hormone called ghrelin (where did they get this name from???) is made. Tiny beads are injected into that artery supplying the fundus, which in turn decreases the level of the hormone.
The results were very impressive: a 9.5 % loss of excessive weight within only 3 months and no significant side effects.
Before you rush over to the nearest bariatric center and ask for this surgery a few important cautions. This study involved only 7 patients and therefore cannot be used to establish effectiveness or safety. More studies with larger numbers of patients will need to be conducted. These patients will need to be followed for longer than just 3 months to see if any long term side effects develop.
Still, this study opens up a whole new less invasive way of treating morbid obesity.