Obesity is a serious disease that has become a global epidemic. Nearly 40% of U.S. adults are suffering from obesity. As if that weren’t enough, many of these men and women are also suffering from numerous weight-related comorbidities. A concise list of these ailments includes high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and cancer.
Obesity negatively affects your quality of life, productivity, mobility, and longevity, with severe obesity reported to reduce life expectancy by an estimated five to twenty years.
According to experts, weight loss procedures are effective treatments for obesity and weight-related comorbidities, yet they are highly underutilized.
If your weight has climbed to a level of obesity or severe obesity, you may not know where to turn. Turns out, the help you need may be as close as your local cosmetic surgeon’s office. There are now several weight loss procedures you can choose that can give you a better quality of life, and potentially longer life to boot.
Here is all you need to know about these safe and effective procedures, which include both surgical and non-surgical weight loss techniques.
Non-Surgical Weight Loss Options – When You’re Not Ready to Commit to Surgery
When your weight climbs to the level of obesity, losing weight becomes downright difficult. While cutting calories and exercising may help someone of normal weight drop a few excess pounds, for obese individuals, losing weight no longer works that way.
Your body fights against you when you become obese. You form a resistance to leptin, which is the hormone produced by the intestines that helps you feel full when you’ve had too much to eat. Your metabolism slows when you become obese, and it takes longer and more intense exercise to lose weight compared to someone of a healthy weight.
If you are struggling to lose weight, non-surgical weight loss options can help you shed the excess pounds.
Non-surgical weight loss procedures are ideal for those who aren’t quite ready to commit to bariatric surgery. The procedures offer a much-needed reprieve from yo-yo dieting, extreme fad diets, and rigorous exercise plans.
Recent advances in bariatric science have led to the development of these non-surgical medical weight loss solutions for patients who need help dropping excess weight.
Let’s explore a few of these medical innovations now.
Obalon – FDA Approved for Weight Loss Without Surgery
Obalon is a gastric balloon system. It is the first and only FDA-approved balloon treatment that you swallow. The treatment is effective and makes weight loss easier for obese individuals.
The Obalon balloon device is lightweight and easy to swallow. The device takes up room in your stomach, which forces you to eat less.
You can’t eat what you want on the Obalon balloon system. The program is designed to be paired with a professionally supervised nutrition and exercise program. The balloon doesn’t stay in your stomach forever. It is removed after six months. Here are the specifics of the treatment.
The Obalon is designed to help patients achieve weight loss without side effects. When you have the balloon installed, you will experience progressive weight loss over the course of the six months, as long as you combine it with a moderate intensity weight loss and behavior modification program.
The balloon itself is durable, smooth, and multi-layered. This lets the device withstand stomach acid, enzymes, bacteria, and other forces when placed in the stomach.
When you swallow the balloon, the device is empty. Your doctor will fill the balloon with a nitrogen gas mixture that allows the device to remain inflated during the six-month period. The gas is inserted into the balloon with an attached catheter that is easily removed once the device is filled. The balloon is leak-proof and can be viewed with digital imaging, so your doctor can ensure the device is always doing its job.
Are You an Ideal Candidate for the Obalon Balloon?
The Obalon Balloon System is reserved for individuals with a body mass index (BM) of 30 to 40kg/m2. You must also be over the age of 22. To be a candidate, you must be willing to follow a twelve-month program that includes diet and exercise. Healthy eating and physical activity must continue even after the balloon is removed after the six-month treatment.
The purpose of the Obalon gastric balloon is to teach you how to follow a healthy lifestyle, which is required to lose a significant amount of weight and keep the weight off long-term.
How Much Weight Can You Expect to Lose with Obalon?
The Obalon balloon has been clinically proven to help patients drop a significant amount of weight when paired with a diet and exercise program. On average, patients lose between 15 and 50 pounds with 89.5% of the total weight loss maintained after the first year.
How is Obalon Placed in the Stomach?
The placement of Obalon takes less than ten minutes with no sedation required. You swallow a capsule, which contains a small balloon attached to a micro-catheter. Your doctor will use digital imaging and a specialized dispenser to inflate the balloon with the nitrogen gas mixture. When the inflation is complete, the catheter is detached and removed, which leaves the Obalon Balloon System to work its magic within your stomach.
How Many Balloons Are Used During a Typical Obalon Treatment?
In most cases, three balloons are placed over three months. The balloons have a volume of 250ccs and weigh less than six grams. That makes them around the size of a small orange when fully inflated. The reason three balloons are used is to help increase your tolerance and facilitate progressive weight loss throughout the six-month program. Studies show that those treated with three balloons lose more than four times as much weight as those treated with only two balloons. All three balloons are removed six months after the first balloon is placed.
How Much Does an Obalon Gastric Balloon Cost?
On average, Obalon costs between $6,000 and $9,000. The Obalon system is not covered by health insurance, but medical financing is always an option.
Reshape Gastric Balloon for Non-Surgical Weight Loss
Reshape is another non-surgical balloon-based weight loss procedure. The program is designed for individuals with a lower BMI of 30 to 40 and is ideal for those who may not qualify for weight loss surgery.
Reshape is different from Obalon in that two connected balloons are used. The devices are filled with a saline saltwater mixture and are placed within your stomach in an outpatient setting. The duration of the procedure is around twenty minutes and uses light anesthesia to keep you comfortable.
During the procedure, an endoscope is used to insert the Reshape balloons into your stomach. Saline is then used to inflate the balloons as they are properly positioned. When the balloons are fully inflated, the endoscope is removed. You will keep the balloons in your stomach for six months, similar to Obalon.
Read our article: The Magic of Reshape
How Does Reshape Help You Lose Weight?
Just like the Obalon system, Reshape helps you lose weight by taking up room in your stomach. You are also encouraged to follow healthy eating and exercise habits. The balloons don’t just help you feel full faster, but you’ll feel less hungry overall.
After the six months are up, the balloons are deflated and removed using the same endoscopic method.
Why Are Two Balloons Used with the Reshape Weight Loss Program?
Reshape is a unique gastric balloon system. The two balloons are used because the connected devices are designed to conform to the natural curvature of your stomach. This helps with comfort and keeps the balloons from moving around. The latter is a safety measure. If one balloon accidentally deflates, the second balloon will keep the device from migrating to your intestines.
Since there is no surgery involved with Reshape, which means there are no incisions, scars, or permanent changes to your digestive system. There is also minimal downtime, which means you can return to work and your normal activities within a few days.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Reshape?
On average, patients lose an average of 20 to 50 pounds with the Reshape gastric balloon system.
How Much Does Reshape Cost?
Reshape costs around $7,000 with insurance not likely to cover the procedure.
Orbera Gastric Balloon – A 12-Month Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program
Orbera is a non-surgical treatment for obesity that again uses a balloon-based system. The treatment uses sedation before your doctor guides a thin, soft balloon down your throat and into your stomach.
The balloon is filled with saline until it reaches the size of a grapefruit. The duration of the procedure is between twenty and thirty minutes. You will go home the same day. After six months, the balloon is emptied the same way it is filled, then removed.
Like the other balloon systems we have discussed, Orbera takes up room in your stomach. The device typically takes up less than half the space available for food. This helps to slow the passage of food and liquid, helping you feel full faster during meals. What the system aims to do is train you to be satisfied with smaller portions and smaller meals.
While the Orbera balloon is placed, you will collaborate with a dietician and other members of your weight loss care team by following a medically supervised diet and exercise program. A food diary is typically advised to help track your progress.
Even after the balloon device is removed, your care team will provide six months of guidance and behavioral therapy to help you maintain the lifestyle changes necessary for long-term weight loss.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Orbera?
Overall, patients tend to lose between 10% to 15% of their body weight while the balloon is installed. You are encouraged to maintain the weight loss after the balloon is removed by following a sensible diet and exercise program.
How Much Does the Orbera Gastric Balloon Cost?
The average cost of Orbera is $6,925 and is not usually covered by an insurance plan.
A Surgical Option for Weight Loss
While the above systems are non-surgical in nature, which means they are reversible, there is also a non-reversible treatment for obesity that involves insurance. Let’s explore that method now.
Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve – The Most Popular Weight Loss Surgery
Laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery is aimed at treating the severely overweight. Also referred to simply as gastric sleeve surgery, this procedure is quickly becoming the most popular bariatric (weight loss) surgery in the world.
You would be an ideal candidate for the gastric sleeve if you have a body mass index higher than 40. That usually means you are carrying more than 100 pounds of excess weight.
How is Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve (LSG) Performed?
A laparoscopic gastric sleeve is performed in a hospital or dedicated surgical center under general anesthesia. After you are unconscious, the surgeon makes five tiny incisions around your abdomen. The cuts are used as entry points for the laparoscopic tools.
First, a long telescope with a tiny camera and light at the end is inserted into your abdomen. Other instruments are pushed through the other incisions to perform the surgical operation. The procedure is viewed by your surgeon using a monitor in the operating room.
During the procedure, up to 80% of your stomach tissue is removed. This part is known as the fundus. After the fundus is extracted, the surgeon closes the rest of your stomach into a tube the shape of a banana. This is called a sleeve, hence the name sleeve gastrectomy.
Because your stomach is made smaller by the gastric sleeve procedure, you will end up eating less following the surgery.
A bonus of having the fundus removed is that your body will make less of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry. You eat less and feel less hungry overall following the gastric sleeve, which helps you lose the excess weight.
The entire procedure takes around two hours to complete. Most people end up staying in the hospital or dedicated surgical center for two days after surgery.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Most gastric sleeve patients lose an average of 40% to 50% of their excess weight in the first two years of having surgery. If your BMI is 60 or more, you may lose an average of 125 pounds.
The gastric sleeve doesn’t only treat obesity. Bariatric surgery is also a suitable treatment for obesity comorbidities like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and many more.
How Much Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Cost?
The gastric sleeve costs $15,400. Your insurance plan may cover bariatric surgery, which means some or all of the costs could be covered by your policy. Check with your insurer. But remember, medical financing is always available, such as programs like CareCredit, to help you cover the costs of this life-changing procedure.
Schedule a Weight Loss Procedure Consultation
If you have made the choice to have a non-surgical or surgical weight loss procedure, you will be pleased to know that both are now available at your local cosmetic surgeon’s office. Call Dr. Babak Moein of Moein Surgical Arts in Los Angeles, California, to schedule a consultation. We also offer a medical tourism program for those living outside the Southern California area. Dial now to learn more (310)694-4486.