Gastric Balloon Option for More Sizes


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Now, a new procedure to help people who are moderately over weight is readily available. The FDA approved the gastric balloon late last summer. One patient and doctor share their story.

No matter what she tried, Doris Carril could not drop the extra pounds she gained as she aged.

“Eating every three hours, exercising, liquid diets, anything,” she told Ivanhoe.

Now, thanks to the new gastric balloon procedure, her doctor gave Doris new hope without ever lifting a scalpel.

Doris smiled and said, “I am very very happy. I lost 40 pounds.”

Nestor De La Cruz-Muñoz, MD, bariatric specialist at the University of Miami Health System said, “We place the balloon through an endoscopic procedure which means placing a small tube and camera through the mouth and into the stomach.”

The balloon inflates with a saline solution so the stomach has less volume, and it stays for six months.

“The balloon procedure works by helping patients feel more full when they eat a smaller meal,” De La Cruz-Muñoz told Ivanhoe.

Nutritional counselors meet with the gastric balloon patients to make sure they are changing their eating habits and lifestyle to keep the extra pounds from returning.

“This tool fills the gap of about 46 million patients that didn’t qualify for bariatric surgery and were large enough so that diet and exercise alone weren’t helping,” De La Cruz-Muñoz said.

But Doris admits the whole experience was not without some discomfort.

She said, “The first five days were bad. I was nauseous.”

A small price to pay, Doris says, for a big drop in weight.

“I’m telling you, this is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she explained.

The program doesn’t end at the surgery suite. The program requires patients to meet with a nutritionist for a year after the procedure. Insurance does not cover the procedure, and it costs approximately $7,500.

Contributors to this news report include: Robbi Peele, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Andy Smith, Videographer; and Tony Dastoli, Editor.

REPORT #2339

(Source:  Bariatric surgeries are a group of procedures that induce weight loss by restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold, causing malabsorption of nutrients, or a combination of both gastric restriction and malabsorption. The most common types of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Bariatric surgery is traditionally only available to those who are over 18 years old and have a BMI over 35-40. The surgeries cause patients to lose weight which reduces their obesity related health risks and illnesses. Bariatric surgery has been shown to help improve or resolve many obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Several studies have found that individuals affected by severe obesity who have had bariatric surgery have a lower risk of death than obese individuals who do not have surgery. The National Institutes of Health recognized bariatric surgery as the only effective treatment to combat severe obesity and maintain weight loss in the long term.

NEW PROCEDURE: The Gastric Balloon procedure was approved by the FDA in August 2015, and offers an option for moderately overweight patients. Those with a BMI between 30 and 40 who would not be considered ideal candidates for traditional bariatric procedures may undergo the noninvasive gastric balloon treatment in order to lose weight. A durable silicone balloon is passed through the mouth and into the stomach, and then filled with saline to make patients feel full sooner while eating. It was designed to help those resistant to weight loss, bridging the gap between diet and exercise and more complicated procedures. Studies show that patients may lose up to 50 percent of their excess weight following the procedure. The results are temporary because most balloons are only safe for up to six months. Thus, it is recommended as a weight loss “jump start” and has been shown effective at maintaining lower weights in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan.


LIFE AFTER GASTRIC BALLOON: The recovery period for the Gastric Balloon procedure is three days, and a recommended transition diet lasts up to two or three weeks. It is important to avoid foods that could stick to your balloon, like pasta, and sip water after you eat to rinse your balloon. During this time, many change their lifestyle and diet habits for long-term success, even after the mandatory removal of the balloon after six months. The procedure acts as an aid to learn and develop healthier habits, such as eating slowly. Patients typically receive support from their doctor and a nutritionist after the balloon is removed to continue their healthy lifestyle.


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Meredith Young



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