Nonsurgical Weight Loss Procedure Available at BIDMC
Weight loss surgery has become a more common way for people to not only lose weight, but to do so in a healthy manner. To qualify for weight loss surgery, patients must meet certain requirements, such as having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above, being a minimum of 100 pounds overweight, and having a serious medical condition related to their weight (diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea).
But if you need to lose weight and do not quite meet these requirements, a different procedure may help.
The intragastric balloon is a nonsurgical, endoscopic weight loss procedure, meaning it involves the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera attached into the digestive tract through the mouth. The intragastric balloon is best suited for individuals who have a BMI between 30 and 40 and will benefit from a comprehensive weight loss program. Patients must also meet specific requirements as established by the National Institutes of Health.
The Digestive Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center now offers the intragastric balloon procedure (IBP). Renowned gastroenterologist Ram Chuttani, MD, Director of Endoscopy and Chief of Interventional Gastroenterology at BIDMC, performed one of the first intragastric weight loss balloon procedures in Boston.
“This balloon weight loss procedure is a great way to achieve healthy weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle,” Chuttani says. “It is an outpatient, non-surgical procedure and most patients go home within a few hours. Most are thrilled with the results. And, they are really happy to have the support of our team over the next year — we are on this weight loss journey together.”
With IBP, you not only benefit from a simple procedure, but a registered dietitian and RN Health Coach will work with you as you make diet and lifestyle changes for achieving long-term success.
From a Patient
“I am a 28-year-old female who has struggled with my weight for a couple of years. I have literally tried every fad diet out there and diet pills, but could not lose the weight and would give up because I wasn't getting the results that I wanted. Then I stumbled upon the intragastric balloon and it gave me the tool I needed to lose more than 50 pounds. I went from a size 14 jeans and worked my way down to a size 6 in the short amount of time that I had the balloon in. It was not the easiest thing for me and I had some challenges, but the staff that worked with me was fantastic and helped me out so much along the way. I would definitely recommend the intragastric balloon.”
How it Works
On the day of your procedure, you will first receive sedation from an anesthesiologist. The deflated intragastric balloon is placed into your stomach with the use of an endoscope. The balloon is then filled with saline, partially filling your stomach, so you feel full faster and eat less.
The 20- to 30-minute procedure is considered minimally invasive and is performed on an outpatient basis. The balloon will remain inside your stomach for six months.
While the balloon is in place, you learn how to eat smaller portions. You also receive coaching and guidance about diet and exercise at regular visits with your dietitian and RN Health Coach. Some of these sessions can be done over the phone.
“Like weight loss surgery, the balloon is a tool to help you reach your weight loss goals,” says Kelly Moore, RD, LDN, a bariatric dietitian who works with balloon patients. “Behavior modification around healthy eating and physical activity is really the key to losing weight and keeping it off.”
Moore, a nutrition educator, says she is a partner in each of her patients’ lifestyle change.
“I meet with patients pre-procedure and then at least monthly, if not more often, after the balloon is placed,” Moore explains. “Between Sheryl Smith, the program nurse/health coach, and me, we develop a personalized plan for weight loss and improved health. This might include finding ways to keep active, consuming a variety of foods that are enjoyable yet nutritious, or limiting mindless eating.”
A Team Approach
After six months, the intragastric balloon is removed with another endoscopic procedure. You will continue to receive the support of your dietitian and RN Health Coach for an additional six months to help you maintain your healthier lifestyle.
Benefits of IBP include lowering the potential risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), high cholesterol and sleep apnea. With a dedicated team of specialists working together with you, the potential for successful long-term results is high.
Patients who have already undergone a bariatric surgery procedure (RNY gastric bypass, LAP band, sleeve gastrectomy) are not eligible for IBP. Additionally, at this time IBP is not covered by insurance.
Above content provided by the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.