New 90-minute weight loss procedure ruled safe for NHS use

ESG is recommended for people with BMI over 30  (PA Archive)
ESG is recommended for people with BMI over 30 (PA Archive)

A 90-minute surgical procedure that shrinks the stomach has been deemed “safe” for the NHS to use.

The new method called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, also known as “accordion procedure” has been introduced to combat obesity in the country.

Currently, the NHS spends £6.1 billion a year to treat obesity, a figure they warn will increase to £10 billion by 2050 if no action is taken.

The procedure is minimally invasive and works by inserting a flexible tube with a camera and medical instruments through the patient’s mouth and into the stomach. It then folds sections of the stomach walls together to reduce the organ, allowing the patient to feel fuller sooner.

According to the draft guidance by the  National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, ESG should be offered to patients with a BMI of 30 or more. They also recommended people who have not lost weight with lifestyle changes and are not suitable for surgery.

Those from South Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African or African-Caribbean family backgrounds should be offered the treatment if their BMI is 27.5 or above, Nice said.

For people with BMI over 40 or struggling with conditions such as type two diabetes, gastric bands or bypasses are currently an option.

Professor Jonathan Benger, Chief medical officer at Nice, said: “Our committee has found endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty for people living with obesity to be a safe and effective procedure which can reduce the size of the stomach and, therefore, make them feel fuller on a smaller amount of food.”

"Surgical treatment options are in high demand and not everyone wants, or is fit enough, to undergo an operation like bariatric surgery,” Professor Benger added.

"A non-invasive procedure like endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty could be a welcome new option for some people."

A consultation on Nice’s guidance is now open and will run until 26 October.