Whether there will be complications down the line or whether patients will gain the weight back, as many do after other weight-loss surgery, isn't clear, Kipshidze said.
"Who knows with this procedure whether patients will gain the weight back? I cannot tell you; I don't know what is going to happen," he said.
That answer is the key to whether this procedure will be a viable alternative to other types of weight-loss surgery, another expert said.
"The question is, will this thing work in a lot of people over a long period of time, and what's the complication rate and what's the mortality with it," said Dr. Stephen Green, associate chairman of the department of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.
"If this works, it would be fantastic -- it would be a game changer," he said. "But this is not ready for prime time."
Kipshidze is planning larger clinical trials where some patients -- including some with diabetes -- will undergo the procedure while others will have a sham procedure. In all, they will need to include about 30 patients to be sure the procedure is safe and effective, he said. The procedure is also being refined with new equipment and techniques.
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