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New Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedure Approved by the FDA

October 13, 2015

More than 15 million people in the U.S. are morbidly obese, according to the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons.

For many, diet and exercise alone won’t help them lose weight. Weight loss or bariatric surgery is often necessary to improve their quality of life and long-term health.

Almost 100,000 people undergo weight loss procedures every year. get lots of attention, but minimally invasive procedures also have helped many people lose weight. Intragastric balloon placement is one such treatment.

What It Is

In August, the FDA approved the use of ORBERA intragastric balloon procedures to treat obesity. The balloon was developed as part of the ORBERA Managed Weight Loss system, a program that emphasizes non-surgical weight loss and dietary counseling. Until now, intragastric balloon procedures only have been performed abroad. More than 200,000 people in 80 countries have undergone the procedure, with impressive results. Studies have shown that patients lose three times more weight in six months after this procedure compared to diet and exercise alone.

How It Works & What to Expect After the Procedure

Using a small medical instrument that is inserted via the mouth while the patient is under anesthesia, doctors place a thin, deflated balloon into the stomach. Once inserted, the balloon is filled with saline to make you feel partially full. The balloon, which must be removed after six months, helps you feel fuller longer because it slows the process by which food is emptied from the stomach.  

Intragastric balloon placement is part of two-step plan to help people maintain long-term weight loss. After the procedure, patients receive nutritional counseling and support for up to one year from a team of experts, including a nutritionist, dietitian and therapists. As I mentioned before, the balloon is removed after six months, but the support program extends beyond that because most people need additional coaching to develop good habits that lead to long-term weight loss.

Intragastric balloon procedures are a good option for people who want to lose between 20-40 pounds without surgery or those who need additional help with weight loss beyond diet and exercise. Since intragastric balloon placement is a minimally invasive 30-minute procedure, it does not require a long hospital stay or recovery. Most patients can leave the hospital immediately after the procedure and return to their normal routine.

Losing weight is hard, even with diet and exercise. If you are more than 100 pounds overweight, weight loss surgery is probably the best option. However, for people below this threshold, minimally invasive procedures like intragastric balloon placement may be worth exploring. If you’d like to learn more about this procedure, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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