People who are obese, but not considered good candidates for invasive bariatric surgery procedures don’t have to give up hope. A less involved procedure that’s performed on an outpatient basis can help people shed twice as much weight as dieting and exercise alone.
Known as the gastric balloon, this weight-loss method is considered ideal for people who are overweight, but by enough to qualify for surgical intervention. This option is also recommended for those who are severely obese, but who wish to avoid the permanency of procedures like the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass.
The balloon procedure involves the implantation of a tiny capsule into the stomach. This is generally performed by inserting it via a tube that’s sent from the mouth into the stomach. Once the capsule is in place, a doctor fills up the balloon to enable it to occupy space in the stomach. The end result is a mimicking of common surgical procedures in that the stomach’s holding capacity is greatly diminished. With the balloon in place, people feel fuller faster and are less inclined to eat more than they should. Balloons stay in place for about six months.
While not as permanent as the bypass, for example, the balloon offers some advantages. This less invasive option lays the groundwork for a six-month period of major weight loss. During this timeframe, patients generally undergo nutritional and lifestyle counseling to help them develop habits that will sustain the losses after the balloon is removed. Studies have found that people who undergo balloon procedures can lose about 25 percent of their excess body fat during the six-month period. That’s about twice as much as those who attempt to lose weight by diet and exercise alone.
People who are overweight are strongly urged to talk to their healthcare providers about all weight loss options. Losing weight can dramatically improve health while lowering the risk for serious health complications.