Ear Stapling for Weight Loss

Does it Work Wednesday
Ear Stapling for Weight Loss
By" Lauren Keith
The latest new tool in weight loss appears to be an ear staple.  It's a form of auriculotherapy, or acupuncture for the ear, that involves putting a staple in a patient's ear.

That patient wears the staple for a few weeks, hoping to lose weight in the process.  Most chiropractors view the staple as a "jump start" to a diet and fitness program. "Will power is always the problem. I like to eat, like most people. It's hard to get started and this gets to where you have that extra boost," says Darrel Vandeven of Whitewater.

That love for food turned into extra pounds on Darrel's body, propelled him to try diet after diet, and eventually landed him here, at chiropractor Rob Nagy's office. "We usually do the dominant side, which is your right side, right?" asks Dr. Nagy.

Darrel's back for a second ear stapling procedure. "It's not a metabolism burner. It's more for the addictive eater - for the cravings. It calms that addictive center," explains Nagy.

It's a quick procedure that may or may not lead to weight loss.  Both Nagy and Darrel say it feels like an ear-piercing. "Just like that, we have a perfect one!" says Nagy as he inspects the staple now in Darrel's ear.

You can barely see the staple, and Darrell can barely feel it, but he's already optimistic this tiny piece of metal will help him drop several pounds. "I can tell a difference already. I was hungry when I came in--I'm not hungry now," he says.

But remember, I mentioned this is Darrel's second trip to the chiropractor's office. Let's rewind a bit, and dig deeper into his story.
Darrell first got stapled in October of 2005. He says within a year, he lost 120 pounds, while wearing this staple. Dr. Nagy also talked with Darrell about diet and exercise. Then Darrell found an on-line diet, and strictly followed it.

However, Holiday season '06 wasn't so merry and bright for him. Darrel gained back 45 pounds, over the past three months. "My goal is by the first of April to get back where I was before," says Darrel.

Darrell's insurance covers this $90 procedure. Dr. Nagy says it's typical for weight loss clients to come back for a second staple, even though the goal is to help them learn to eat right on their own. "After two or three months, it does start to wane a bit, and you lose the power of this staple," says Nagy.

That's why Nagy says a good candidate is the addictive eater. Basically, I mean someone who over-eats, but also, an hour or so after they eat, they feel the need or urge to eat again, they have another meal, then 2 hours later, they're not hungry but they still have the urge to eat," said Nagy.

He also says this staple isn't for someone merely wanting to lose five or ten pounds. Again, part of Dr. Nagy's plan is nutrition education. So after the staple's in, clients check in a few weeks later to report how they're doing. That's when I catch up with Darrel.
Darrel spends his spare time pitching horse shoes, hoping to combine a favorite past-time with exercise. In the two weeks since this last staple, Darrel has lost weight.
"12 pounds!" he proudly says.

But he emphasizes, that weight came off mostly because of his on-line diet plan, and then the staple. "It's just an aid to help you get started. It's not permanent. You have to have a diet program. You're not going to lose weight by putting a staple in," says Darrel.

But one has to wonder - is a cycle starting to form for Darrel and this staple? He says no. "As with any diet, you're going to regain if you don't stay on it. I kept the weight off for a year, but the holidays rolled around and I gained some back, so before I get out of control, I asked Dr. Nagy to put it back in," says Darrel.

He plans only to keep the staple in for a few more weeks, before having it removed. His insurance picks up the tab each time.  Staple or no staple, no one can deny this man is healthier.  You can see that in his "before" and "after" pictures. "The diet is what caused me to lose the weight. The staple helped me stay on the diet," Darrel says.

"For me, it's an A-plus program to get started," says Darrel.

While he gives this diet aid an excellent review, I don't know if it will work for you, or if you should even consider it, but I do know Darrell Vandeven now leads a better life. "I feel so much better," says Darrel.

I also want to point out. There is a risk of infection with this procedure. Just like getting your ears pierced, you have to swab the ear a bit with peroxide. I've also received an email from a doctor in Kennett who says she's had to remove these staples for a few clients in the Bootheel because of infection. I asked Dr. Nagy about that, and he also said make sure if you're getting this procedure done, have it done by a licensed professional.