I’m in­cred­i­ble shrink­ing woman

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JANE HANSEN

SHARON Post is lit­er­ally half the woman she used to be but it’s not thanks to a mir­a­cle diet, rather a new sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure.

Last May the 50-year-old Syd­ney ac­coun­tant weighed 113kg and, on her 162cm frame, it was slowly killing her. Now she has lost 53kg.

Her doc­tor sug­gested bariatric surgery but in­stead she was part of an Aus­tralia-first trial in con­junc­tion with two US clin­ics for en­do­scopic sleeve gas­tro-plasty or ESG. The pro­ce­dure is per­formed through the mouth. “The surgery was easy, it was day surgery and they put a line of stitches in my stom­ach to cre­ate a sleeve,” she said.

Her stom­ach is now tiny and while she can eat a va­ri­ety of nor­mal foods, they are very small por­tions.

“I can drink lots of wa­ter but food, it’s no more than half a cup and I’ll be full,” she said. Smaller por­tions have also helped hus­band Garth lose 14kg.

The re­sults, pub­lished this month in Obe­sity Surgery Jour­nal, found the 115 pa­tients in the trial lost an av­er­age of 12.9kg in the first six months and a to­tal av­er­age of 16.4kg, or 14.9 per cent of their body weight.

Lead re­searcher and med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Syd­ney-based BMI Clinic Dr Adrian Sar­toretto said the re­sults were as good as the more in­va­sive bariatric pro­ce­dures.

“The re­sults are com­pa­ra­ble to a gas­tric band or gas­tric sleeve pro­ce­dure at the same time points, how­ever the ESG is per­formed as a day-only surgery, al­low­ing for lower risk,” he said.

“Pa­tients have ex­pe­ri­enced health ben­e­fits such as re­mis­sion of di­a­betes, hy­per­ten­sion and sleep ap­noea — all the more im­pres­sive when con­sid­er­ing these pa­tients were dis­charged from hos­pi­tal on the same day.”

While Medi­care cov­ers some bariatric surgery, in­clud­ing gas­tric by­pass and lap band for ap­proved pa­tients, ESG is not cov­ered.

Pro­fes­sor Wendy Brown from the Com­mon­wealth’s Bariatric Surgery Regis­ter said she was sur­prised by the re­sults be­cause pre­vi­ous tech­niques that left the top half of the stom­ach in­tact had failed over the long term. She said ESG has been knocked back by Medi­care due to a lack of ev­i­dence.

“They’ve been get­ting good re­sults, which I find fas­ci­nat­ing and con­fus­ing,” Prof Brown said. “It’s a pro­ce­dure that needs watch­ing, with 28 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion obese.”

As for Mrs Post, the ESG is the best thing she ever did.

“I feel re­ally good, I feel healthy,” she said.

“I made a de­ci­sion for the rest of my life and it’s given me a great boost. It’s a mas­sive dif­fer­ence.”

Picture: Danny Aarons

Sharon and Garth Post. Sharon has lost al­most half her weight.

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