Bloodless, incisionless gastric band surgery
July 12, 2011
Thirty-year old Amber, a 30-year-old Washington communications specialist, can explain in detail the gastric-band surgery she had last July: the sound of the gurney wheeled into the OR, the smell of anesthetic, the tight feeling in her stomach that she woke up with. In six months she dropped 82 pounds. This is not unusual unless you consider one fact: the surgery never happened.
Instead, Amber underwent “Gastric Mind Band,” also known as GmB, a virtual reality hypnosis session in which patients experience the implanting of a stomach-shrinking device. When this method is successful clients walk away feeling as though their stomachs are smaller and can’t hold much food, just as if they had undergone the actual surgery. The method was developed by British hypnotherapist, Martin Shirran. Shirran and his wife have trained hypnotists who offer GmB in London, Seattle and Philadelphia. More than 600 patients have been treated since 2008 and now there’s a 3-month waiting list. The procedure costs $1,950 and has no risks except for money loss. Gastric banding costs about $20,000 and carries a 40 percent chance of complications and a one in 1,000 risk of death.
Elle magazine, June 2011, reports that with no clinical studies of GmB, all claims of success are purely anecdotal. According to Mitchell Roslin, MD, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, “The idea of comparing hypnosis to a medical device that’s been through two FDA trials is basically marketing voodoo. What you’re seeing is the short-term effect, the placebo effect – not medically verified, long term results.”
But, in support of GmB, Joachim Vosgerau, PhD claims that imagination and experience overlap: “Whether I think about seeing a spider or really do see a spider, the same reaction will occur in my brain.” Further, consider the placebo effect: 75 percent of subjects derive some benefit from taking dummy pills in FDA trials of new drugs.
Shirran’s system doesn’t use hypnosis alone. There is an intensive four-day program in which clients analyze their eating patterns, watch videos of actual gastric-band surgery and are taken through guided imagery in which they imagine their stomachs deflating from the size of a melon to that of a golf ball. So, by the time subjects undergo the faux surgery, they’ve already begun to understand the factors that led to their weight problems.
If you have recently succeeded in losing a dramatic amount of weight through diet, exercise or surgery, you probably have an excess of hanging skin. Body contouring at the hands of a plastic surgeon, although never virtual, will help you achieve the body you want. Contact a board-certified plastic surgeon at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
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