Bariatric surgery has grown into an increasingly popular procedure in the treatment of weight gain and obesity. More than a handful of new procedures are on the horizon for individuals seeking such surgery in the coming year. Bariatric surgery has been increasingly used to help treat diabetes epidemics as well as help prevent increasingly common issues such as bone and joint damage and high blood pressure.

What's New on the Horizon for Bariatric Surgery
Some of the most common reasons consumers have and will continue to seek bariatric surgery facilities in recent years are the result of less invasive surgical techniques, and the development of incision-free bariatric surgery and single-incision procedures on the horizon.

Incision-free bariatric surgery involves a technique called Transoral Gastroplasty (TOGA).  Phase III studies are currently in progress and enable surgeons to change the anatomy of the stomach in order to create a feeling of fullness after small portions of food are ingested, without making any actual incisions in the stomach itself.

Single-incision weight loss surgery is also growing in popularity, enabling bariatric surgeons to perform a gastric banding procedure through a single 8-centimeter incision rather than the current technique which utilizes 4 to 5 small incisions, resulting in even faster healing times. 

Bariatric surgical procedures are also seeing an increase in the non-obese, specifically for the treatment of individuals with lower body mass indexes (standards for bariatric surgeries has specifically catered to those with a BMI of 35 plus) in individuals who have also been diagnosed with diabetes.

The number of individuals undergoing bariatric surgical procedures is expected to grow in 2010, especially due to the fact that Americans diagnosed with diabetes has doubled in recent years.  According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, nearly 23 million Americans today have been diagnosed with diabetes, a number expected to double by 2034 if current trends continue. The success of bariatric surgical procedures reducing and sometimes eliminating a person's need for insulin has increased the number of bariatric surgeries for the treatment of diabetes in recent years.

Bariatric Surgery: Not Just for the Obese
Unfortunately, more children and teens in any other generation have been diagnosed as being overweight or obese in the past decade.  According to the American Heart Association, teens who are overweight or obese stand an increased risk of developing some form of heart disease if steps are not taken to reduce their weight. Weight loss programs for teens are on the rise in hospitals across the country, as are bariatric surgeries. Combined with education regarding proper diet and exercise, such surgeries may potentially save thousands of lives in coming decades.

A new procedure called "corset trunkplasty" has been created to help patients who have undergone bariatric surgical procedures and lost massive amounts of weight, only to be left with large amounts of excess skin, especially around the torso. The new procedure helps reduce the presence of excess skin and according to the literature, targets flab above the belly button, reducing the amount of excess skin left around the middle as well as 'love handles'.

Of course, popular gastric band procedures will continue, including the two most popular; the lap band and the Realize band, as well as new techniques that promote surgery-free weight loss.  One such device currently in late stage clinical trials is called the endoluminal sleeve, also known as an EndoBarrier Gastrointestinal Liner. The liner, placed in the upper portion of the small intestine, focuses on treating uncontrolled diabetes in the obese without surgery.

The future for bariatric surgery and development of new techniques will continue, ever striving to achieve less invasive surgical procedures that promote long-term weight loss and maintenance, reducing the risk of devastating disease processes and encouraging individuals to lead healthier and happier lifestyles.

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