Health Team

Procedure offers surgery-free alternative to gastric bypass

Posted November 27, 2008 5:50 p.m. EST
Updated October 13, 2015 11:11 a.m. EDT

A new, less invasive procedure than gastric bypass may be another option for obese people trying to lose weight, doctors say.

During the procedure an Endobarrier liner – a 2-foot plastic sleeve – is placed inside the intestine using an endoscope.

“It prevents food from contacting the first part of the small intestine. And it prevents digestive juices from mixing with that food, so essentially duplicating that effect of the gastric bypass,” Dr. Dmitry Nepomnayshy, of the Lahey Clinic in Boston, said.

Unlike gastric bypass, which involves making the stomach smaller, the Endobarrier requires no surgery.

The results, however, aren’t as dramatic as gastric bypass. The average patient lost between 12 and 24 pounds in the three month clinical trial.

Geri Jemlich, who used to weigh more than 380 pounds, participated in the trial.

“I was a food addict. I couldn't sleep at night if I thought there was another row of Oreos,” Jemlich said.

Gastric bypass surgery helped her lose 140 pounds – but she wanted to lose more, so she volunteered for the trial and lost 40 pounds in 12 weeks.

“I'm energetic and do things that I wouldn't even think,” Jemlich said.

Doctors say the Endobarrier may help obese people who don't want to undergo surgery or who don't qualify because of health issues or because they don't weigh enough.