Northside Hospital - Northside Offers Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedure

Northside Offers Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedure

Posted on: March 30, 2016


New intragastric balloon offers patients benefits of weight loss surgery, but without incisions

Obesity increases risks for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.  Yet, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the CDC.  Bariatric (weight-loss surgery) often is the only long-term effective treatment for weight loss.  Now, physicians at Northside Hospital are offering patients the latest non-surgical solution for weight loss approved by the FDA.

The ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon is a soft, but durable balloon that is implanted within the patient’s stomach, taking up space and causing the patient to feel full faster.  As a result, the patient eats smaller portions and, therefore, loses weight.  The balloon is a temporary solution that encourages portion control.  While the balloon is in place, the patient works with care providers to learn healthy eating and exercise habits.  At six months, the balloon is removed, while the patient continues to work to keep the weight off.

“The best candidates for the balloon are motivated patients whose body mass index (BMI) is between 30 and 40 and who have tried other non-surgical weight loss methods, but have not been successful,” said Dr. Srinivasa Gorjala, bariatric surgeon at Northside who performs the intragastric balloon procedure.

A leader in providing comprehensive bariatric services, Northside Hospital offers an interdisciplinary team of experts including board-certified surgeons, many of whom have been performing surgical weight loss procedures for more than 30 years.  Combined with certified bariatric nurse coordinators, weight loss specialists and dietitians, they work to provide the best possible and highly personalized care for all patients.

The intragastric balloon is inserted into the patient’s stomach endoscopically (via mouth) during an outpatient procedure.  Once in the stomach, the balloon is slowly filled with saline until it reaches about the size of a grapefruit.  The procedure takes about 15 minutes and patients go home a couple hours later.  The balloon offers patients the benefits of weight loss surgery, but without the risks of surgery or incisions.

“The typical patient will lose about 35 to 60 pounds,” said Dr. Gorjala.

However, Dr. Michael Williams, who performed the first intragastric balloon procedure at Northside, adds that “patients need to be realistic.”

“The balloon is just a tool for patients who want a jump start on their weight loss; it must be done in combination with a structured diet and exercise program,” said Dr. Williams.  “Because we continue to follow patients with all of our weight loss options for up to a year post procedure, they typically continue to lose weight.”

Linda Davis was the first patient to undergo the intragastric balloon procedure at Northside on Dec. 29, 2015.  She has already lost 15 pounds.

The 37-year-old Dunwoody mom struggled with her weight for four years.  She dieted and exercised regularly; she even had her thyroid checked, but she couldn’t seem to lose the weight.  Then she found out about the intragastric balloon.

“This procedure is something that I felt I had to do for me,” said Davis.

In conjunction with the balloon, Davis follows a diet plan provided by Dr. Williams and continues to exercise weekly with a trainer.  She hopes to lose 40 to 45 pounds in all and is optimistic about her chances.  However, she admits that she still struggles, even after the progress she’s already made.

“I still see the heavy person in the mirror,” Davis said.  “It’s a process emotionally, mentally and physically.  This is a lifelong change, not a quick fix.”

“I want to learn to continue to eat small meals, manage my portions and exercise regularly, so that I don’t gain weight again,” Davis added.  “I’m learning more and more every day.”

Northside Hospital offers bariatric services at its Forsyth, Atlanta and Cherokee campuses.  In addition to comprehensive surgical services, pre-surgery informational seminars and aftercare support groups are available.

Read more about weight loss options at Northside. 

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