8 October 2016

Endobarrier in Italy at UPMC Institute for Health

Endobarrier in Italy at UPMC Institute for Health

A new medical therapy is available at UPMC Institute for Health Chianciano Terme: the Endobarrier.

Obesity and diabetes can cause major damage to vital organs (heart, kidneys, liver). In some cases, organs can be so damaged that a transplant is necessary. Doctors and researchers are constantly working on new treatment options, or at least trying to improve the patients’ conditions. In addition to the more popular bariatric surgery, less invasive treatments have recently been developed. These can be performed endoscopically, with a very short hospital stay both before and after the procedure. The Endobarrier, developed in the United States, is one of these new treatment options.

The Endobarrier is a device whose effects are similar to those of gastric bypass surgery. This new technique, compared with other bariatric surgery procedures, is:

  • less invasive as no surgery is involved
  • reversible, as the device can be removed
  • less expensive compared to traditional bariatric surgery used to treat obesity

Endobarrier is a flexible waterproof tube fixed with a metal anchor to the bulbar portion of the duodenum, which is inserted endoscopically through the mouth, under radiology guidance. The goal is to reduce food absorption and improve insulin production. The device creates a physical barrier between food and the intestinal mucosa. The Endobarrier  can stay in place for up to 12 months, after which it is removed.

Results show a loss of over 40% of excess weight and, most of all, clinical remission of type 2 diabetes with a significant improvement of the conditions of patients undergoing this procedure. Endobarrier is an innovative solution for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It also offers a variety of biomedical research opportunities that provide some important insight into the mechanisms underlying this disease.

In 2013, the Endobarrier was implanted for the first time in Italy, at ISMETT in Palermo, as a result of a clinical study funded by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). At ISMETT, the procedure was performed endoscopically by Dr. Mario Traina, chief of Gastroenterology, on patients followed by Dr. Anna Casu, chief of Diabetology. Today this treatment is also available at UPMC Institute for Health Chianciano Terme.

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