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Natural Orifice Surgery Utilized for Weight-Loss Procedures

February 11, 2009 |

Physicians at Stanford Hospital & Clinics are now treating patients using natural orifice surgery for weight-loss procedures. Paul Martin, 53 years old, is among the first patients to undergo the treatment. In Martin’s case, his entire weight-loss surgery in December was performed through his throat.

Martin had no new scars on his body following his 2-hour procedure. “I woke up with just a slight sore throat,” said Martin. “There wasn’t any pain because there weren’t any incisions.”

“We went down his throat with a device that looks like a regular endoscope, with a ‘duckbill’ on the end,” said surgeon John Morton, MD. “In the duckbill is a tiny instrument like a sewing machine, with a needle that has plastic sutures.”

Morton then stitched pleats in the stoma, the opening between the patient’s intestine and the small pouch that had been created in a previous weight-loss surgery. He then tightened the pleats around the endoscope, reducing the stoma from 20 millimeters to 14, helping to control the amount of food Martin can digest.

“We’re moving away from small, multiple incisions, to just one scar or, in some cases, no scar. It’s something we can offer that hopefully will decrease pain and allow for quicker recovery,” said Morton.

As the surgeons at Stanford continue to refine no-scar and single-incision procedures, Morton foresees more flexible instruments being developed in the future, which will help surgeons work in smaller areas and around corners.


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