Non-Surgical Bariatric Weight Loss

Non-Surgical Bariatric Weight Loss

In 2016, 70% of Americans classified as overweight or obese. The question is, should you have bariatric surgery? It’s easier said than done! 

You may have worked with a practitioner before for dieting and exercise advice. Weight loss can be frustrating and some things that work for others may not work for you. When all other weight loss options have been explored and your BMI is exceeding 35, your practitioner may provide some information on bariatric surgery procedure types.

When discussing the benefits of bariatric surgeries, most people assume it's the easy, life-changing solution they’ve been looking for. However, bariatric surgery is anything but easy. The process still requires lifestyle change, supplements for life, surgery with anesthesia, spending time in the hospital with a long checklist to prepare, and recovery time after surgery. 

Luckily, many FDA-approved bariatric alternatives are becoming more popular. Weight loss medications and non-surgical bariatric procedures are among the long list. Below we talk about some safe, non-invasive alternatives to weight loss surgery. 

Bariatric Non-Surgical Treatment Methods

The following list includes the available non-surgical bariatric options that do not classify as surgery, but have common factors and outcomes compared to bariatric surgery. This would include visiting a hospital and going through a recovery phase.

However, nearly all of the options are same-day procedures that are minimally invasive and highly effective for individuals who require significant weight loss.

Nutritional Counseling and Medications  

Starting with the least invasive method, nutritional counseling and weight-loss medications will always remain the leading weight loss method.

It’s not only about adhering to a lifestyle change with increased activity and healthy eating. By integrating weight-loss medications under the supervision of your healthcare provider, you’ll be able to tackle food cravings and hunger cues. This process has lead to significant weight loss results. 

Studies have shown that weight-loss medications can help you lose 5-7% of your weight in a year when taken regularly and following a diet plan. Unfortunately, some individuals may see weight gain when stopping the medications. Not to mention, if your BMI is 40 or more, this may not be the most effective solution. 

Before your doctor prescribes a particular medication, they'll request your medical history and perform a complete examination to point out allergies and metabolic issues you might have. Do not take these medications on your own, especially if you're pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or have a chronic medical condition. 

Gastric Balloon  

The gastric balloon procedure is based on the idea of making you feel full quickly to avoid overeating. This is achieved by inserting a silicone balloon into the stomach. The balloon takes up about ⅔ of stomach space; thus, you’ll reach satiety after consuming a smaller amount of food.

On the day of the procedure, the doctor will provide you with a mild sedative to reduce discomfort during insertion. Then, an endoscope will be guided through the mouth to insert the balloon into the stomach. The endoscope is a thin extendable tube with a light and camera on the end, which helps the medical professional see what they're doing.

Once the deflated balloon is inserted into the stomach, it will be inflated with saline. After 6 months, the practitioner will remove the balloon with the same method. After the balloon is removed, you will continue to follow a supervised weight loss program.

The procedure itself takes about 20 minutes in the operating room. It is minimally invasive, quick, and painless. It is common to have mild side effects such as bloating, nausea, and belching. Typically, the recovery is about 3 days at home. You will go home the same day with only slight discomfort in the abdomen.

There are a few things to be aware of before opting for a gastric balloon. First, it's not a permanent solution. The balloon is designed as a tool for patients with a BMI exceeding 35 in order to aid in weight loss during the first 6 months of your weight loss journey.

When choosing this method, you’ll have to follow diet restrictions and lifestyle change. However, the results are more rapid and effective than those utilizing medications. People who undergo this procedure lose around 25-30% of their weight in a year. 

You may not be eligible for this option if you have a history of stomach or esophageal surgery.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

Another popular and highly effective endoscopic procedure is endoscopic sleeve gastroscopy (ESG). This is the non-invasive version of the traditional sleeve gastrectomy surgery without the incisions.

In this version, there is a reduced risk for complications. It is performed under general anesthesia. Like the gastric balloon, an endoscope with a camera and suturing device is inserted through the mouth and directed into the stomach. The doctor will suture the stomach, changing the shape to look like a thinner tube or banana. The procedure is about one hour long and most individuals go home the same day. Also, it is possible for the changes to be reversed if necessary.

This procedure is classified as one of the safest non-surgical bariatric weight loss procedures, showing high effectiveness and safety profiles. The side effects are usually mild pain and nausea for the first couple of days after the surgery. Moreover, the expected weight loss percentage after one year is as high as 20%.

Keep in mind, most of these options require strong motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle and the will to lose weight. For ESG, be prepared to commit to the life-long diet and lifestyle changes. Much like a sleeve gastrectomy, not adhering to a healthy lifestyle can lead to stretching of the stomach and possible weight regain.

To help you adapt to this new lifestyle and ensure you are receiving all of the nutrients you require, your provider may recommend some bariatric supplements before and after the procedure. Some of the most affordable and convenient bariatric supplements can be found at Bariatric Fusion

Finally, to fill in the nutritional gap, Bariatric Fusion Protein Supplements contain the daily protein requirements essential for your body to maintain muscle mass and promote healing.

Aspiration Therapy  

This option is intended for someone with a BMI over 35. This method puts you in control of the number of calories entering your body. It is non-surgical and reversible. 

The procedure can take around 15-20 minutes. A small tube is inserted into the stomach. The tube is connected to a button that can be seen on the surface of the stomach that will connect to a device (AspireAssist). This device allows you to empty some of the stomach’s content after each meal so that the number of calories left to be absorbed leaves you in a caloric deficit to promote weight loss.

In order to prevent long-term, unsupervised use of aspiration therapy, the skin port will lock after a certain number of uses. You will be able to go home the same day and whenever you would like the device removed, you can set up an appointment for another procedure. 

Typically, there are no foods or beverages that are off-limits. However, healthier eating habits and lifestyle change will be encouraged by your healthcare team in order to maintain successful weight loss. This method has been shown to provide great results in improving the quality of life with excess weight loss rates exceeding 50%  in one year. 

The downside is that continuous follow-up and doctor visits will be required to make sure the device and tube are positioned correctly. Keep in mind that aspiration therapy isn’t suitable for individuals with eating disorders, stomach ulcers, anemia, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Pick the Right Step for a Healthier Future 

Now that you’re aware of the available non-surgical bariatric weight loss procedures, your decision should be based on your individual situation and your health provider’s recommendations.

Before choosing any of the methods mentioned above, you will be required to exert your best effort in losing weight the traditional way. Insurance will look into this, as well as your healthcare provider. If diet and exercise fail, consult with your doctor to assess the risks and benefits of each procedure.

Have a safe trip to a healthier future!

 

**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.