So, is this the latest and possibly greatest weight loss procedure, or is this just the latest weight loss fad?
The latest weight loss surgical procedure, an intragastric weight loss balloon, was approved by the FDA in August 2015. It is designed to occupy space in your stomach so that you feel full and satisfied with eating less food and therefore fewer calories. This results in losing weight. FDA studies showed patients who received the balloon lost more than 7% of their body weight after six months of use, compared to just over 3% for those that did not have the balloon.
Let’s take a look at it. First of all, the intragastric balloon is designed to be in the stomach for a maximum of 6 months at a time, at which time it must be removed, and the patient no longer has the effect for which the intragastric balloon is designed. This will, most likely, result in weight regain. Second, the balloon is indicated for patients with a slightly lower body mass index than that required for a weight loss surgical procedure. The intragastric balloon is more akin to medication for weight loss, which cannot be taken permanently, and it’s effects wear off over time. Finally, the intragastric balloon is designed as a primary weight loss procedure, on patient’s who have never had weight loss surgery before. Yes, it is less invasive than more permanent weight loss surgeries such as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, but again, it is a temporary fix.
The balloon also has some side effects that make it a decision that needs to be thought about carefully. Firstly, upwards of 15% of patients can not tolerate the balloon and need it removed early. This is primarily due to nausea. Also there is a higher risk of ulcers developing in the stomach with the balloon. In America, the balloon will cost between $6000 and $7000 and this cost is for a 6 month weight loss technique that is then removed with weight gain possible if not likely.
Our conclusions are that the intragastric balloon seems at first glance like a viable option for people looking to lose weight, but the patient population needs to be scrutinized very closely. If you have a BMI of 30-35 and do not qualify for a surgical option, then the balloon may be just what you need to jump start your weight loss; however, you need to understand that once it is removed, you may gain your weight back if you have not modified your current lifestyle. This also goes for individuals who are in the BMI 35-40 range with no comorbidities. These individuals are often excluded from a surgical option by insurance companies because they do not have other illnesses related to their morbid obesity such as diabetes or high blood pressure. If you qualify for a surgical option though, that is very likely the best route to take. After 6 months of weight loss with the intragastric balloon, when it is removed, the truly morbidly obese will likely not have lost enough weight and will regain most of it back in time. With weight loss surgery though, at 6 months you are still in the peak weight loss period and it is only going to continue from there on out! If you are truly looking for a long-term weight loss option and qualify for surgery then we believe that should be your primary option. If you would like to evaluate your options with a professional, please do not hesitate to contact us at (844) NEW-YOU-7 or (844)639-9687] or at email@example.com. All of our surgeons are trained in the weight loss balloon procedure.