Interesting News on Weight Loss Surgery Innovations
Posted Apr 12 2010 4:52pm
I recently saw a conversation on Wellsphere about Total Gastric Vertical Plication - a new version of gastric sleeve (that is not medically correct refernece/terminology, but it is a reasonable description in terms of what existing weight loss surgery procedure it is most similar to).
I was amazed to see that anyone knew of it! The procedure was recently pioneered at Tehran University Medical School, and I believe is also in clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic. Right now Dr. Juan Lopez Corvala at Hospital Anglees Tijuana is the only surgeon I'm aware of performing this procedure, which differs from sleeve gastrectomy in several essential elements:
- no devices or staples
- ambulatory -just 1-2 nights in the hospital
- does not impair dietary habits
- no risk of leaking
- no band, no fills, no adjustments
Hopsital Angeles Tijuana has thus far treated about 50 patients - four just this week from the United States. The procedure is $8,500 including a full medical travel package of labwork, roundtrip transportation via hospital shuttle from airport to hospital. The Hospital is located about 15 minutes from downtown San Diego; built in 2006, it is a modern gated complex of doctors offices, 10 ORs, neonatal nursery, organ transplant division, etc. It's a full service hospital with state-of-the art medical technology which I think is key for obesity surgery patients - you want a multi-disciplinary team at your disposal, including experts in anesthesia and cardio health for obese patients.
In other news I noted that Aetna has decided to cover the sleeve gastrectomy surgery, but the 'watch outs' are so incredibly numerous (and the BMI requirement so high) that they are effectively not covering it for 90% of the 5,000+ weight loss surgery patients that have been treated at Hospital Angeles -- one of the reasons Angeles works so hard to keep prices low is to meet the high demand of US patients who need the surgery and do not consider this an elective procedure, as insurance companies define it (so they don't have to cover it).