Jaw Wiring For Weight Loss

Jaw Wiring To Treat Obesity

What Is Jaw Wiring?
Jaw wiring is not a bariatric operation. In fact, it is not even a surgical procedure. But it is a possible treatment for obesity and compulsive eating. Jaw wiring is performed in a dental chair, in less than 60 minutes, and is painless thus requiring no anesthesia. The goal of this orthodontic method of weight control is to prevent the consumption of solid food, thus causing a drastic reduction in calorie intake. Once the required weight loss is achieved, the wiring is removed and the patient is free to eat normally. Unfortunately the success rate of jaw-wiring as a long term method of achieving a normal weight is very low. Most patients have not learned a new way of eating. So once the jaws are unwired, dieters often revert to their previous diet habits and regain weight. In addition, the fixed position of the teeth and jaw may make speech and movement difficult, which patients might find distressing. Jaw wiring is not a main stream therapy for weight reduction, although its lack of appeal may stem from its out of date image, rather than lack of effectiveness as a weight loss strategy. More common in the 70s and 80s, jaw wiring has now been overtaken by bariatric surgical procedures such as gastric bypass or Lap Band®.

How Does Jaw Wiring Work?
Orthodontic jaw wiring is a method for treating compulsive overeating and obesity. The jaw wiring apparatus comprises orthodontic brackets attached to the teeth, with wire wrapped around or through the brackets. The brackets and wires are arranged in such a way as to suspend the patient’s lower jaw in a semi-closed, partially movable resting position. This permits a moderate amount of physiologic jaw movement and relatively clear speech, while preventing the eating of solid foods.

Orthodontic jaw wiring is, in effect, an enforced liquid diet. Since liquid diets are generally very effective at helping patients with severe clinical obesity to normalize their weight, it follows that jaw wiring should be an effective weight loss treatment. However, most low-calorie liquid diet plans achieve long term weight reduction only when followed under medical or clinical supervision. Typically, such a diet program includes counseling and instruction on healthy eating and regular physical exercise, without which its long term efficacy is doubtful. Which is why most orthodontists who practice jaw wiring state that the long term success of the procedure is entirely dependent on patient compliance with post-procedural dietary and exercise guidelines. Even so, clinical trials with this weight loss therapy have shown excellent initial results.Jaw Wiring: A Type Of Compulsive Liquid Diet

Clinical Study Of Orthodontic Jaw Wiring

Jaw Wiring To Treat Obesity.
(Rodgers S, Burnet R, Goss A, Phillips P, Goldney R, Kimber C, Thomas D, Harding P, Wise P)

17 patients with morbid obesity (averaging 100 percent above ideal weight) underwent a jaw wiring procedure. No major complications were reported. Weight Loss Results: All patients lost between 55 and 66 pounds in six months. This level of weight reduction from jaw wiring is comparable with that of gastric bypass surgery. One person achieved and maintained her ideal weight. Two-thirds of the patients, however, regained some weight after the wires were removed. Conclusion: orthodontic jaw wiring is a simple and effective procedure which can be carried out in most hospitals, and has a place in an integrated approach to obesity. (Source: Lancet 1977 Jun 11;1(8024):1221-2)