Gastric Plication: the How and the Why

October 9th, 2018 - Posted to Weight Loss

Gastric plication is a weight loss procedure by the means of which the size of the stomach pouch is reduced into a tinier tube-like form with the purpose of decreasing the amount of food consumed. The intervention does not involve any kind of cutting of the stomach or of the intestines, it merely implies a technique based on folding and stitching. It should be made clear that this specific method only imposes limitations on the quantity of food eaten in one serving. There are no reasons to worry about lack of nutrients, as they will still be able to circulate and be absorbed by your body. The person that had gastric plication will simply feel fuller earlier and will require smaller portions to feel as such.

The gastric plication approach is quite popular among weight loss patients due to its no cutting principle. Most people fear the idea of permanent modifications, and even more so if it is related to medical issues. That being said, the aspect of gastric plication being a reversible procedure is comforting to many. The fact that no foreign objects are inserted into their stomach only provides further encouragement.

How the Surgery Goes

The entire gastric plication procedure is done based on the guidance of a laparoscope. The meaning of that is that the surgeon typically makes a few tiny incisions into the abdomen of the patient, as opposed to the large cuts demanded by the traditional open surgery. One of the small cuts will be permitting access inside the body of the patient, and the tiny camera will provide live images to those working in the operating room. Other surgical instruments will also be inserted through the incisions made in the abdomen.

Generally, the intervention lasts from 40 minutes to two hours. The decreased size of the stomach pouch is obtained by a peculiar folding of the lining of the stomach inside itself. Both the volume and capacity of the organ are lessened by at least 70%. The proportion is not by any means subtle and as a consequence, the effects of feeling fuller after eating a small meal will be felt rapidly.

In the majority of the cases, gastric plication patients only have to spend a day or two in the hospital following the procedure, and then they would have to schedule about a week of rest at home before they would be able to return to work. In itself, the recovery process does not have any major difficulties, but it would be challenging for the patient to get into a new habit of eating post-surgery.

In the beginning, for instance, you will have to commit to a diet including only liquids, most commonly, water, milk and juices. This stage usually lasts about two weeks. By the third week, you may incorporate thicker foods, such as some vegetable soups and yogurt. Let yourself be assisted in your meal planning by the medical staff assigned to your recovery to make sure you do not act counterproductively. You should follow the instructions given by your doctor every step through your recovery because failing to do so will make your surgery useless, as you will not be losing weight the way you set out to do.

Risks of Gastric Plication

Gastric plication is usually considered to have low risks. Some of the most serious side effects and complications are:

  • bowel obstruction
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • infection
  • internal bleeding
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach leakage
  • stomach rupture
  • weight regain

If you encounter any of these signs post-surgery, you should immediately check in with your doctor so that the issues can be properly supervised and treated.

Benefits of Gastric Plication

When evaluating the benefits of gastric plication, the most important factor to be taken into account for the estimation to be accurate is the weight the patient had before surgery. However, as a general rule, patients are expected to lose over 50% of their body weight in the two years following the procedure.

The weight loss after the gastric plication will help improve any additional health conditions the person might be suffering from, most notably:

  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol level
  • liver issues
  • sleep apnea
  • type 2 diabetes

Over 75% of the people that had gastric plication in order to lose weight report back a visible amelioration of such conditions in the first year after they underwent the procedure.