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Ear stapling for weight loss: Does it work?

I'm considering having my ears stapled to help me lose weight. Does this work?

Ear stapling for weight loss isn't likely to work and it poses a serious risk of infection.

Ear stapling is based loosely on the principles of acupuncture, which involves stimulating certain points with fine needles. With acupuncture of the ear, the needles are typically left in place for only a short time.

Proponents of ear stapling claim that the staples stimulate a pressure point that controls appetite, leading to weight loss. Small surgical staples are placed into the inner cartilage of each ear. The staples can be left in place for several weeks or even months.

Although some studies suggest that acupuncture can reduce appetite, ear stapling hasn't been proved effective for weight loss. And the largely unregulated practice of ear stapling can be dangerous if done in unsanitary conditions or by an untrained practitioner. In fact, puncturing ear cartilage poses a risk of serious infection and permanent disfigurement.

If you're overweight, don't depend on ear stapling for weight loss. Instead, discuss proven weight-loss strategies with your doctor.

Updated: 8/18/2012

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