Endoscopic Bariatric Program

Obesity affects approximately 40% of adults in the United States and is known to increase the risk of several potentially serious conditions. For instance, obesity is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and musculoskeletal disorders, as well as psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem.

Tampa General Hospital offers the most comprehensive obesity management solutions in Florida. Our Endoscopic Bariatric Program is housed within our Digestive Diseases Institute and Bariatric Center of Excellence, which is overseen by Dr. Christopher DuCoin, a nationally recognized expert in bariatric surgery who specializes in minimally invasive and robotic techniques.

TGH’s Endoscopic Bariatric Program is led by Dr. Salvatore Docimo, whose unique specialty is transoral (incisionless) surgery, a minimally invasive alternative to complex revisional endoscopic procedures. In addition to groundbreaking transoral procedures, our team performs advanced endoluminal procedures. Our mission is to expand the treatment options for patients who are not surgical candidates or are not interested in surgical treatment for obesity.

What Is Bariatric Endoscopy?

Bariatric endoscopy is an advanced minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat obesity and related conditions. Endoscopy involves the use of a thin, flexible tube with a light source and miniature camera attached to the end (endoscope). By introducing an endoscope through the mouth and guiding it to the stomach and small bowel, a surgeon can perform various weight loss interventions without making a transabdominal incision.

For example, when performing a bariatric endoscopic procedure, a surgeon can reduce the size of the stomach or modify its structure, thereby limiting food intake and promoting weight loss. To accomplish this, the surgeon may:

  • Place a gastric balloon in the stomach to reduce its capacity
  • Suture the stomach to create a smaller pouch
  • Reduce the size of the opening between the previously created stomach pouch and the small intestine

The endoscopic training and suturing skills required to perform bariatric endoscopy can only be acquired through advanced fellowship training. The procedure is much less invasive than traditional bariatric surgery; it also offers excellent outcomes along with minimal downtime for patients.

What Sets TGH Apart?

TGH+USF Health is the leading academic health system in the Tampa Bay region and one of the first in west central Florida to offer endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG). In early 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first devices for performing this innovative procedure, which involves using an endoscope equipped with a small stitching instrument to reshape the stomach and reduce its size. By restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold, ESG can lead to reduced foot intake and weight loss.

TGH also offers transoral outlet reduction endoscopy (TORe) for patients who experience weight regain after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The Roux-en-Y procedure creates a small pouch in the stomach and connects it to the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach. Over time, the opening between the gastric pouch and the small intestine (gastric outlet) can become enlarged, allowing food to move into the small intestine more quickly and leading to increased hunger. TORe involves accessing the gastric outlet transorally with an endoscope and tightening the opening with sutures. This can slow the movement of food into the small intestine and help the patient feel fuller longer.

Our Robust, Multidisciplinary Medical Weight-Loss Program

TGH’s innovative, state-of-the-art Endoscopic Bariatric Program features a multidisciplinary team of:

  • Fellowship-trained surgeons
  • Obesity medicine physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Dietitians
  • Psychologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Exercise physiologists

Working closely together, these experienced specialists develop a comprehensive, individualized care plan for each patient.

In addition to patients who would like to lose weight, TGH’s team works with patients who have complex comorbidities, such as end-stage heart failure, liver disease or kidney disease. Our medical weight-loss program can prepare these patients for organ transplantation surgery that would not otherwise be possible due to the risks associated with their body weight. Together, the refined expertise of our specialists and the multidisciplinary nature of our program translate into more opportunities for high-risk patients.

Our Nationally Recognized Bariatric Care

Dr. DuCoin is current president of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and Dr. Docimo serves as Co-Chair of the Flexible Endoscopy Committee of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Society. Both are well-published and highly sought after as speakers for national and Florida-based surgical societies. Dr. Docimo also sits on the ASMBS Clinical Issues Committee, which assists in evaluating and publishing national clinical guidelines related to bariatric surgery.

Our Legacy of Innovation and Clinical Trials

As a high-volume clinical center, TGH’s Endoscopic Bariatric Program is dedicated to training the next generation of specialists. We offer unique, firsthand opportunities for fellows, residents, and medical students to learn from recognized experts in the field. Through clinical excellence, meaningful research and a laser focus on surgical education, TGH is redefining academic medicine for the benefit of all current and future patients.

Benefit From World-Class Care at TGH

If you would like to learn more about TGH’s Endoscopic Bariatric Program, contact us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. Our program is one of only a few of its kind to offer a dedicated Patient Access Support Program to improve the insurance approval process.