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Off to a Great Start

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) Jumpstarts Weight Loss without Incisions

When Gregory Fulham, 62, thinks of the extra weight he used to carry, he visualizes the heavy boxes of reds, whites and rosés he lifts in his job as a wine consultant.

A typical case of wine weighs about 45 pounds. Fulham has dropped more than 50 pounds and is still losing. "I feel better, I look better and it's easier for me to move around," he said.

Gregory Fulham was the first person in Chicago to undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG)

In January 2017, Fulham became the first person in Chicago to undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), a new nonsurgical weight loss procedure offered at the University of Chicago Medicine's Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT).

ESG and other endoscopic therapies for weight loss are designed for patients with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. During the procedure, while the patient is asleep, the physician threads a flexible tube -- called an endoscope -- through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Using a device attached to the endoscope, the physician then stitches and tightens sutures, decreasing the size and volume of the stomach.

"ESG is designed to help patients jumpstart their weight loss," said gastroenterologist Christopher Chapman, MD, director of bariatric and metabolic endoscopy, who performed the minimally invasive endoscopic technique that reduced Fulham's stomach size by 70 percent.

"Every day, someone tells me, 'Wow, you look good."

"I was particularly drawn to the idea of no incisions," said Fulham, who was back at work five days after his procedure.

A dietitian worked with Fulham to plan well-balanced, lower calorie meals. "I eat my normal foods, even the spicy stuff, just not as much," he said.

He lost nearly 15 percent of his body weight in the first three months after the procedure and his BMI decreased from 39.7 to 33.9. His double chin disappeared and his blood pressure went down. Customers and friends began commenting on how different he looks.

"I had never been successful at weight loss before," Fulham said. "This procedure has been a miracle for me. And it may have even saved my life."

Gregory Fulham was the first person in Chicago to undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG)

July 2017


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