CARY, N.C. — A weight-loss procedure called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, or ESG, has gained momentum during the pandemic, and Spectrum News follows along as one patient goes through the procedure.

Monty Pridgeon says he has tried exercising and just about every diet. They all left him hungry and unsatisfied. 

What You Need To Know

  • ESG is a non-surgical procedure to shrink the stomach.

  • Gastroenterologist Dr. Chris Mcgowan said he saw a 200% increase in ESG when comparing January 2020 to January 2021.

  • He performed his 500th ESG in January 2021, which True You Weight Loss reports is more than any other doctor across the country, according to Business Wire

“I can clear a plate, haha,” Pridgeon says. “I wake up every Monday morning saying, ‘this is it, this is the time,’ and by Wednesday I am back in my old habits.”

Pridgeon was determined to make a serious change in his body because he wants to be there for his 11-year-old son. His own father died when he was 16-years-old.

“His lifestyle was not very good, and I am trying to be better than that,” Pridgeon says. “He died at the age of 51 with a heart attack. I want to be more proactive for my health so I can be there for my children and my grandchildren.”

On the morning of January 29, Pridgeon made his way to True You Weight Loss to prepare for his endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty or ESG. Dr. Chris McGowan says the non-invasive procedure will make Pridgeon’s stomach about 80% smaller.

“We make the stomach smaller from the inside,” Dr. McGowan says. “We are using tools on the end of an endoscope. It’s a flexible tube with a camera.”

Dr. McGowan explains this is why the procedure is non-surgical. They use a tool on the endoscope to thread the stomach smaller. McGowan says since this procedure is less invasive, there are fewer risks for complications.

“It’s a major advance in the field because we are not cutting through the abdominal wall and because there are no incisions, the recovery is faster,” Dr. McGowan says. 

The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes. Dr. McGowan says they have registered dieticians to help patients after the procedure achieve their goals.

“This is a tool,” McGowan says. “It will support you, and we will help guide you so that after six or 12 months when they reach their weight goal, they can maintain it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports obesity can increase a patient's risk of severe illness from COVID-19. It’s one of the many reasons Pridgeon hopes to become healthier.

“I want to be there for my children and my grandchildren,“ Pridgeon says. “I want to meet each and every one of them. That is my motivation.”

ESG is not suited for everyone. Make sure to consult a doctor for further inquiry.