Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures Demystified: How They Work

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Non-surgical weight loss procedures provide a safe and effective way to reduce weight and improve overall health. Commonly known as metabolic and bariatric surgery, these procedures modify your eating habits and suppress hunger by removing or bypassing parts of your stomach and small intestine to limit calorie absorption. The Orbera Gastric Balloon is a non-surgical weight loss treatment that uses a fluid-filled balloon to take up space in the stomach, causing you to feel full quickly and reducing your food intake.

Intragastric Balloon

Intragastric Balloon is one of the non-surgical weight loss procedures that combines long-term diet and lifestyle changes with a short-term medical implant that fills space in your stomach. It is a safe and effective option for many patients who are overweight or obese and struggling to lose weight. The Orbera intragastric balloon is a soft, latex-free inflatable balloon about the size of a grapefruit. It is placed in less than half an hour during an endoscopy procedure requiring minimal sedation. Before inserting the balloon, your doctor uses the endoscope to inspect your throat, esophagus, and stomach for ulcers or lesions that could interfere with the procedure. After the balloon is in place, you will consume a liquid diet for a week. Then, you can add small amounts of soft, gradually increasing to full-sized meals. You must follow a strict nutritional plan to achieve the best results while your balloon is in place. The Orbera intragastric balloon is entirely reversible, and your doctor will remove it in a similar outpatient procedure to removing the balloon, typically resume a typical eating pattern with regular foods. Your physician will monitor your progress regularly and help you stay on track. During your weight loss journey, you will meet frequently with members of your care team, including a nutritionist and psychologist.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) is a minimally invasive bariatric procedure that reduces the volume of the stomach, making you feel full sooner. It is a viable option for patients with a BMI of 30-40 who cannot lose significant weight by diet and exercise alone. The doctor accesses your stomach without making any incisions by passing an endoscope down your throat. The endoscope has a tiny camera that allows the doctor to see your stomach inside and place sutures that change its structure, forming a tube-like shape that restricts how much you can eat. The procedure takes 60-90 minutes to complete and is performed under general anesthesia. After the procedure, you may experience some symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, though these are common with other bariatric procedures. Symptoms are typically mild and improve with time. Over time, scar tissue will form within your stomach to reinforce the sleeve and make it resistant to stretching or tearing. The sleeve is considered durable, but the procedure reverses if you switch your mind or don’t like the restriction.

Lap Band

The Lap Band (adjustable gastric banding) is an implantable medical device that wraps around part of your stomach to create a smaller pouch and limit how much you can eat. The ring attaches to tubing, allowing us to periodically inject a medically safe solution (saline) to adjust the band’s tightness. When it’s optimally tight, you will feel full after eating small amounts of food. The band is placed during minimally invasive surgery under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes 1 to 5 minor surgical cuts in your abdomen. They insert a laparoscope, a thin, lighted tube with a camera attached to one end, and minor surgical instruments through these incisions. During surgery, the Lap Band is attached to a tube connected to an access port in your abdomen. The port is visible under your skin and accessible through a small incision. This access port connects a tube to the band and saline, which we can inject into the ring to adjust its tightness or loosen (deflate) it. It is important to note that this procedure is not a cure for obesity and does not reverse other weight-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. If you fail to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, or if your health continues to deteriorate, you may be advised to pursue another option, such as gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass is a surgery that changes how your stomach and small intestine work. It decreases hunger, increases fullness, and improves many obesity-related conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes. The surgery also helps people lose weight quickly and maintain the loss for years afterward. During the procedure, surgeons create a small pouch on top of your stomach and staple it shut. This pouch is about the size of a walnut and can hold only about an ounce of food. After the pouch is created, your surgeon will connect a section of your small intestine to the opening in your pouch. The resulting loop of your intestine bypasses the rest of your stomach and duodenum, reducing the amount of food your body absorbs and calories you absorb. This surgical procedure is called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and has been around for decades. It can be done using traditional large incisions or laparoscopically, which involves inserting instruments through multiple minor cuts in your belly. Following the surgery, patients will begin a liquid diet to allow their stomachs to heal. Then, they will progress to soft foods like pureed vegetables, soups, oatmeal, and steamed desserts for several weeks. During this period, it is essential to remember that you must eat slowly and chew your food well.