Bariatric Arterial Embolization – New Obesity Injection
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Bariatric Arterial Embolization – New Obesity Injection


‘Bariatric arterial embolization’ is a weight loss treatment that involves an injection into the stomach. This is said to be a safe, effective and non-invasive alternative to weight loss supplements or surgery, with clinical evidence to support it.

The weight loss industry is growing in popularity, with hundreds of weight loss supplements and treatments available for different purposes. Arguably, the majority of dietary products are intended to be consumed orally, whether they’re in the form of a capsule, soft-gel, powder or liquid.

However, a new treatment involving a weight loss injection called ‘bariatric arterial embolization’ has been released by scientists who claim that this procedure is a safe and effective way to promote weight loss. This treatment is said to inject ‘small beads’ into the stomach which are believed to suppress the appetite and control hunger in a ‘non-invasive’ way, and their claims are supported by clinical evidence.

What is ‘bariatric arterial embolization’?

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Bariatric’ refers to any type of procedure that works towards treating or preventing obesity, and the ‘arterial embolization’ indicates that this treatment specifically targets the arteries.

It’s said that originally, this injection was only ever used in emergencies to stop bleeding in the stomach, and it was seen as a last resort. However, research has suggested that the same procedure may also encourage weight loss as it’s linked with the stomach.

However, the scientists behind the bariatric arterial embolization injection imply that it’s unlikely that this treatment would ever become a mainstream treatment, and would probably only be used on people who are severely obese, if then.

How does it work?

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The bariatric arterial embolization procedure involves microscopic ‘beads’ which are injected into an artery that leads to the stomach, and they’re usually initially injected into the wrist or the groin. The effects that bariatric arterial embolization have on body weight were said to be discovered accidentally during a clinical study testing its ability to stop stomach bleeding, as discussed later on in this article.

It’s believed that this injection may contribute towards weight loss because the beads that are injected into the body are said to essentially reduce the production of ‘ghrelin’ in the body.

Ghrelin is one of 2 ‘hunger hormones’ produced naturally in our bodies, alongside the other which is called ‘leptin’. It’s said that ghrelin increases levels of hunger, while leptin works at reducing hunger levels and promoting satiety. Ghrelin is believed to be based in the stomach where it then sends signals to the brain.

Researchers claim that in order for this treatment to promote weight loss, the substance must be injected into the correct artery; the artery that needs to be injected is called the ‘left gastric artery’, and this is linked to a part of the stomach called the ‘fundus’ which is supposedly responsible for creating ghrelin.

Therefore, the idea is that reducing the amount of ghrelin produced in the body will potentially reduce your levels of hunger, subsequently encouraging you to lower your food intake. However, this relies on the will power from the person, and they state that the procedure would have to be combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise to produce effective results.

Clinical studies on bariatric arterial embolization

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As mentioned before, the idea of using a bariatric arterial embolization injection was discovered accidentally during a study which used a sample of 32 patients being treated for stomach bleeding, which is allegedly the original role of the treatment.

Here, researchers found a pattern which was determined by which artery the beads were injected into. Over 3 months, they found that when the beads were injected into the left gastric artery these participants lost an average of 8% of their body weight compared to those who were injected into a different artery, as they only lost 1% of body weight on average.

This then prompted medical researchers including Clifford Weiss to begin exploring in detail the effects that this procedure may have in terms of weight loss, and his findings can be found in the following article until the official studies are released at a later date.

Here, it’s said that a 6 month study consisting of 7 participants examined the effects of the bariatric arterial embolization injection on obesity, specifically looking at its role in reducing appetite. Measurements were taken throughout the study and all subjects filled out questionnaires regarding their feelings of hunger for 6 days before the procedure and for 6 consecutive days before each follow-up meeting.

Results found that every participant experienced weight loss, as well as a significant reduction in levels of hunger after the treatment. In terms of the percentage of pounds of excess body weight lost, they found that patients lost an average of 5.9% after 1 month, 9.5% after 3 months and 13.3% at the end of the study after 6 months.

In terms of their hunger surveys, subjects reported an average decrease in appetite of 81% at 2 weeks, 59% after a month and 26% after 3 months. Participants also appeared to have an average 17.5% reduction of ghrelin levels in their stomach when measured 3 months after the procedure.

Another study is currently in the midst of being run and participants are being recruited, which shows that they’re experimenting with the treatment and researching it further.

Potential side effects associated with bariatric arterial embolization

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As the bariatric arterial embolization treatment is very unconventional and still in the early stages of ever being made available, the potential risks associated with the procedure in terms of weight loss are currently unknown.
The researchers claim that potential short-term risks associated with the treatment include bleeding and infections, although any long-term side effects are less known.

They do, however, warn that use of this treatment can cause potentially dangerous hernias in the long-run, and patients undergoing this procedure may experience and develop nutritional deficiencies after some time.
While these risks are possible, more extensive research needs to be carried out before we can gather an accurate idea of the potential side effects associated with this treatment, especially regarding long-term safety.

Is there a future for bariatric arterial embolization in terms of weight loss?

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Although this treatment is still in its early stages in terms of weight loss, evidence certainly suggests that it could have the potential to promote a reduction in weight, or at least in appetite.

However, it’s hard to tell whether this procedure will ever become mainstream; Clifford Weiss – the leader of this investigation – warns that it’s unlikely that this injection will ever be intended to be used as a conventional weight loss aid, and may instead only be used on patients who are severely obese, and it would only ever be administrated by a medical professional as it requires somebody who is trained to locate the correct arteries.

It’s possible that bariatric arterial embolization may be offered as a more serious option such as other weight loss treatments such as gastric bypass surgery or the gastric band. While the researchers claim that the injection is much less invasive than these other types of surgery, they also add that they’re unsure whether it would ‘fit in’ with them.

Much more clinical evidence is required before they can consider offering this treatment to patients so that they understand any safety risks it may have, and whether or not they can adjust the injection or its dosage to improve its effectiveness or not.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the bariatric arterial embolization appears to have the potential to enhance weight loss in a non-invasive way. However, a lot more evidence is certainly needed regarding the treatment’s safety and its overall efficiency before it can be considered being made available to the public.

If this treatment does succeed in the weight loss industry, it’s likely to only be available to patients with severe obesity/weight problems, and it’s unlikely to ever be offered to the general public. Nonetheless, this injection may end up alongside other popular weight loss surgery treatments such as the gastric band, and it may one day be the preferred option if clinical evidence is developed and used to improve the treatment.

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