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Woman experiences life-changing weight loss without surgery and climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro

Tuesday, May 02, 2023 10:35 AM

By Janet Hosey

Mary Keough Ledman recently got a do-over.

The Illinois-based global dairy economist had the chance to undergo a nonsurgical weight loss procedure that ended up being truly life-changing.

Previously battling obesity, Ledman had endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, a bariatric procedure that helped her lose enough weight to stop diabetes and blood pressure medication.

The weight loss also gave her the courage to tackle activities she wouldn’t have attempted as an obese person.

For example, she recently joined a friend in hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

“When the opportunity arises to hike the Grand Canyon or Kilimanjaro, I don’t hesitate to say yes because I know my physical health isn’t going to hold me back,” she said. “There is no way I would have gone to Kilimanjaro had I not had this weight loss surgery.”

Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) is a minimally invasive weight loss procedure where a series of stitches placed through the stomach wall are used to reduce the stomach’s volume by 80%.

Reducing stomach volume reduces the amount of food and liquid the stomach can hold at one time and helps people lose weight by taking in fewer calories than their body uses in a day.

“There’s no surgery, no scars, less pain and a quicker recovery,” said Michael B. Ujiki, MD, a general and bariatric surgeon with NorthShore University HealthSystem. “The procedure is also completely reversible.”

ESG is done under general anesthesia using a narrow lighted tube called an endoscope, which has surgical tools and a tiny camera on it. It is gently guided down the esophagus and into the stomach. The procedure lasts about 1-2 hours, and most people leave the hospital the same day as the procedure, though some may stay overnight for monitoring.

“This procedure results in more weight loss than medications and the same as, or more than, some surgical options but with less risk,” Dr. Ujiki said.

Watch the video to hear Mary Keough Ledman on her nonsurgical weight loss journey.

Learn more about endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty at NorthShore University HealthSystem.