It’s hard to be overweight. It’s hard to not fit into movie or airline seats. Feeling like people are looking at you in restaurants makes you self-conscious, and so does shopping in the large-size departments. You even try to avoid seeing yourself in mirrors.
And as hard as that all is, obesity is even harder on your body. Look at these sobering facts:
- A Harvard study found that obesity increases the risks of 50 different health problems, depending on the degree of obesity and the length of time a person carries it. The risk of diabetes, for example, is 20 times higher if you are obese.
- An American Cancer Society study found that being overweight or obese raises a person’s risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer. The study also found that body fatness, poor nutrition, a lack of physical activity and drinking too much alcohol contributed to one in five cancer cases.
The good news? Losing weight generates positive health effects for your body quickly, and the more you lose, the more you reduce your risk for many of the most serious health problems.
But that’s the hard part. Many people simply can’t lose weight. They’ve tried multiple diets and many exercise plans, but they simply don’t succeed. Some people are successful in losing weight, but not in keeping it off, leading to a yo-yo weight loss/weight gain problem.
Is this you? If so, you might be a good candidate for a gastric balloon (also called an intragastric balloon). During this procedure a silicone balloon is placed in your stomach and inflated with saline solution. It helps you lose weight by leaving less room in your stomach and making you feel full sooner and longer.
Let’s take a look at five benefits to this kind of procedure.
1. There is no surgery involved with a gastric balloon
The patient is sedated, and a thin tube carrying the silicone balloon inside is guided down the throat and into the stomach. Then the doctor guides an endoscope down the throat—a small tube with a camera—to observe the silicone balloon as it is inflated with saline.
When the balloon is inflated and sealed, the tubes are withdrawn and the procedure is over. It typically takes 30 minutes from start to finish, and patients go home the same day. The balloon is left in for six months. After that, it is removed with an endoscope.
2. The gastric balloon is temporary and can be removed
By design, the gastric balloon is only meant to be in a patient’s stomach for six months before it is removed. But should any special circumstances arise sooner than that, it can be taken out at any time.
3. Cost for a gastric balloon procedure is less than for surgical procedures
The average cost of a gastric balloon procedure runs $7,500-$8,500. That’s significantly less than the average costs of different types of weight loss surgery.
4. You may be eligible for a gastric balloon even if you are not eligible for surgery
Many clinics and insurance companies require candidates to have excessively high BMIs and severe weight-related health problems before they are considered ready to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Gastric balloon procedures, however, can often be done on people with lower BMIs who have less total weight they want to lose.
5. Gastric balloons produce real weight loss results
Most patients lose between 20 and 50 pounds, depending on starting weight, in the six months they have the balloon. After the balloon is removed, patients can continue to lose weight and maintain healthier physiques with newly introduced diets and exercise routines.
Is a gastric balloon the right procedure for you?
Only three brands of gastric balloons are approved by the FDA. Soma Weight Loss uses the Orbera brand gastric balloon, because we feel it is the best. Learn more about the different brands of gastric balloons.
If you’re considering any kind of bariatric procedure, educate yourself on the qualifications and requirements. A qualified bariatric surgery clinic will conduct a complete examination and evaluation of each patient.
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