Bariatric Advice

Gastric stimulation procedure

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Question

What does gastric stimulation weight loss treatment involve, and how much does it cost?

The treatment known as gastric stimulation is a non surgical alternative to more invasive obesity procedures. A small device, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted into an obese or overweight patient. This implant sends electrical pulses to the stomach muscles, mimicking the feeling of fullness. The stimulator can help lead to significant weight loss, although not quite to the same degree as a gastric band or gastric bypass.

The procedure
Gastric stimulation treatment is performed under a local anaesthetic, and keyhole surgery is invariably used. Through a small incision, the surgeon will position the stimulator in a abdominal pocket between the rib cage and the patient's belt line. Leads and electrodes are attached to the stomach muscles using permanent stitches. The surgeon then sends instructions to the pulse generator using a computer programmer to control the the frequency of pulse bursts.

Risks and side effects
The risks of a gastric stimulation include pulmonary embolism, perforation of the stomach, and dislodgement of the device head. Metal detectors at airports or strong electrical signals can cause interference with the stimulator. There are also the general potential complications associated with the use of anesthesia.

Cost and prices
The price of a gastric stimulation in the UK, as elsewhere around the world, can vary dramatically from clinic to clinic. The procedure can cost anything from £10,000 to £20,000 in the UK and from $15,000 to $35,000 in the US.

NHS, private or abroad
Gastric stimulation is not available on the NHS at the moment. However, you can have the procedure in a number of private clinics both in the UK and abroad.

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