SAN FRANCISCO, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A minimally invasive treatment may target hunger at its source, another uses X-ray visible embolic beads to block arteries to the stomach and suppress hunger and a third explores the use of stem cells to repair vertebral disc degeneration. Initial results from all these studies were reported at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.
Approximately 127 million Americans (or 65 percent) are overweight, obese or morbidly obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of morbid obesity is also rising rapidly. Two new studies that explored the use of proven interventional radiology treatments in new ways may have the potential to help individuals with morbid obesity.
"Currently, there are three clinically viable surgical alternatives for obesity: gastric bypass surgery, gastric pacing and endoscopic gastric banding. These procedures have varying success rates; they are invasive, require extensive gastric/bowel reconstruction or external devices and can have significant surgical complications," explained Charles Y. Kim, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and lead investigator on one of the studies.
"Our promising results led us to believe that a minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment—called bariatric arterial embolization—would allow for precise targeting of a specific portion of a person's stomach in order to decrease production of ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger. This treatment could one day be the answer for those who have not been successful with weight loss through diet and exercise," said Kim.
Embolization is a minimally invasive technique where an interventional radiolo