Digestive Disease Institute
Endoscopic Suturing Puts Staci Back in Control of Her Health
After years of effort, high school teacher Staci Tuck was able to reach her goal weight, thanks to gastric bypass weight loss surgery. As time passed, she began to notice that she was hungry more often and was starting to gain back much of the weight she had worked so hard to lose. Staci met with gastroenterologist Michael Larsen, MD, and told him about her concerns. Dr. Larsen explained that over time, the stomach pouch and/or the outlet that connects the pouch to the small intestine can stretch, allowing food to empty more quickly into the small intestine. This change caused Staci to feel hungry and allowed her to eat more, which was resulting in her weight gain.
Dr. Larsen recommended a technique called endoscopic suturing to reduce the diameter of the outlet to its original post-operative proportions. The procedure is performed using a small, flexible endoscope and specialized devices to place stitches through the endoscope. The scope and stitching devices are inserted through the mouth into the gastric pouch. Stitches are then positioned around the outlet to reduce the diameter, typically from the size of a silver dollar to the size of a dime. The same technique can be used to place additional stitches in the gastric pouch to reduce its volume capacity if it is also enlarged.
“Regaining weight despite working very hard and undergoing a major operation such as gastric bypass is very challenging for patients,” Dr. Larsen says. “Most of them have been previously told that they no longer have any options. It is incredibly gratifying to help them lose weight and become healthy and active.”
Because these therapeutic procedures are performed without any incisions means Virginia Mason patients have less risk, reduced discomfort and no abdominal scarring. Most patients resume normal activities the next day. In the past, they might have had to stay in the hospital a week or two.
Patients who undergo endoscopic suturing for weight regain after gastric bypass typically lose an average of 60 percent of the weight they had regained. Weight loss surgery and endoscopic procedures not only result in weight loss but often treat other comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea.
Virginia Mason Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence
Virginia Mason received the designation as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence in 2006. This designation means the highest quality care is provided by a team that strives to achieve the best outcomes for weight loss, including evaluation, surgery and postoperative management.
In addition to endoscopic suturing and bariatric surgery, Virginia Mason offers several other treatment options for weight loss, including medical management of weight loss, the Get Healthy appointment series, a meal replacement plan and more recently, the gastric balloon. A gastric balloon remains in the stomach for six months and reduces feelings of hunger, giving the individual a feeling of fullness longer after eating only small amounts. This newly offered technology is accompanied by nutritional care, is completely reversible and is placed and removed endoscopically. Patients seeking to lose weight can be sure they will be supported on their journey in multiple ways at Virginia Mason.
For the fifth year, Virginia Mason has been designated one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Gastrointestinal Care. The honor places Virginia Mason among the top 5 percent of U.S. hospitals for this service.