As the new year approaches, you may be considering yet another resolution. While weight-loss goals are often the focus of the “new year, new you” mentality, there’s a reason that it’s a recurring theme: achieving and maintaining your goal weight often proves elusive.
Tired of the same-old, same-old pattern of losing weight only to gain it back? Sometimes diet and exercise alone aren’t enough—but bariatric surgery seems like too extreme a step. If you’re feeling like you could use a little extra help to kick-start your year, the recently approved intra-gastric balloon may be just what the doctor ordered.
What, exactly, is the “balloon”? Unlike the devices used in the 1980s, the new and improved intra-gastric balloon is constructed from advanced, highly durable materials that are more resistant to breakage. The soft balloon is placed in the stomach endoscopically and filled with saline solution which, in turn, partially fills the stomach. The balloon is a “restrictive” device, increasing satiety so that patients feel full more quickly.
“Unlike metabolic operations like the sleeve, gastric bypass or duodenal switch, it does not change internal hormones that accelerate metabolism and increase weight loss,” Dr. Dirk explains.
Like other restrictive devices, the intra-gastric balloon is a temporary solution—it is removed from the stomach after six months. While studies indicate that patients may re-gain weight when the device is removed, it remains a valid weight-loss solution when used in conjunction with long-term lifestyle changes to your and diet and exercise plan.
Who will benefit from this new procedure? The balloon is often used in patients who must lose weight to qualify for bariatric surgery, or those with a BMI between 30-40. With minimal risk factors, however, the device may prove to be quite helpful for a wider pool of patients.
“Truly anyone who is struggling with their weight can have it,” says Dr. Dirk. “As long as they understand that it is a tool to help them change their life in regards to nutrition and exercise.”
If you find yourself frustrated with your weight and you’re ready to commit to a healthy diet and exercise program, talk to a Dallas bariatric surgeon about the new and improved intra-gastric balloon. 2016 just may be your year!