When deciding to lose weight, sometimes the hardest part is getting started. If you are 50 pounds overweight or more, it may be daunting to think about what will be involved in embarking on a journey that will require life-long changes.
Today, we are going to discuss some ways to lose weight that do not require surgery if you are 50+ pounds overweight.
What It Takes To Get Weight Loss Surgery For 50 Pounds Overweight
You may have wondered if you are at least 50 pounds overweight and if you would be eligible for weight loss surgery and the answer is maybe. It depends on your body mass index (BMI) and the state of your health. The basic qualifications for bariatric surgery are:
- A BMI of at least 40 or 100 pounds overweight or;
- A BMI of at least 35 and current health issues that are weight-related such as type 2 diabetes.
In addition to these basic BMI qualifications, health insurance companies that cover certain bariatric procedures have their own set of criteria a patient must meet before they will approve or pay for the surgery. Many times, the process of having to get approved is cumbersome and frustrating. Often, this includes proof of attempting to lose weight through a structured program for at least 6 months, several medical tests, and possibly more.
It can take anywhere from 90 days to 12 weeks to even get an answer returned from an insurance company. Many patients are denied and must go through a lengthy appeal process.
A Few Downsides of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is effective but it has risks and both short-term and long-term complications associated with it. Depending on which type of bariatric surgery you undergo, you will also have between a six and eight-week recovery and will have to follow a very strict dietary plan while your digestive system recovers from the procedure. Some types of bariatric surgery also put patients at risk for malnutrition. Bariatric surgery may be the best treatment for patients with extremely high BMI numbers but a non-surgical weight loss option might better serve individuals who are 50 pounds overweight.
Non-Surgical Weight Loss Options
The good news is that looking for weight loss help without surgery when 50 pounds overweight has recently gotten easier and you have options. Endobariatrics is a newer class of gastroenterology and describes procedures that are performed to help patients lose weight without the risks associated with a surgical procedure.
What Are Endobariatric Procedures?
Procedures that are done with the use of a special instrument called an endoscope to help individuals lose weight are called endobariatric procedures. These procedures do not require any incisions, are not surgical, and routinely are performed as outpatient procedures.
An endoscope is a thin tube that is hollow and flexible and has a camera attached to its end. Other tiny instruments that are needed to perform a procedure can be inserted through the hollow portion of the endoscope.
During an endoscopic procedure, the patient is mildly sedated and the endoscope is carefully lowered down the throat so the doctor can access the stomach and complete the procedure. The attached camera provides a “real-time” video feed to a monitor that is located close to the doctor to help guide them.
Because endoscopic procedures are minimally invasive and non-surgical, there are fewer associated risks and there will be no visible signs of scarring left behind.
Best Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedures For 50 Pounds Overweight
A non-surgical procedure may be all you need to jump-start your weight loss journey and achieve your desired goal. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to use the Orbera weight loss balloon or ESG (endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty).
1. The Orbera Balloon
This non-surgical weight loss tool is a soft balloon-like device made from silicone that is placed into a patient’s stomach. The balloon is lowered down an endoscope while deflated and then once it reaches the correct location, it is inflated with a sterile saline solution. The procedure takes between 20 and 30 minutes to complete and patients can return home the same day.
Once the balloon is inflated, it takes up about ⅔ of the patient’s stomach. The balloon works for weight loss by restricting the amount of food an individual can eat in one sitting and helps them stay satisfied between meals. While the balloon is in the stomach, the ingested food is digested more slowly which helps them feel full longer. There are no incisions that need to heal and most patients recover in 3-5 days as soon as their stomachs become accustomed to the balloon.
The Orbera balloon is used as part of a program that is 12 months long. The balloon remains in the patient’s stomach for 6 months and then it is removed but the patient continues to follow the program for the remaining six months.
During the Orbera balloon weight loss program, patients work with several professionals who provide comprehensive education in the areas of nutrition, exercise, diet, lifestyle coaching, and other necessary professional support.
Patients who continue to follow their program including making healthy food choices and continuing their exercise regimen, will continue to lose weight and will maintain that weight loss. Patients have lost between 35 and 92 pounds in just six months using the Orbera weight loss balloon and their associated weight loss program.
2. Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)
ESG is another endoscopic procedure that can help you lose weight when you’re 50 pounds overweight. During an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, the patient’s stomach is made smaller by manipulating it into a sleeve-like shape and securing the new shape with strategically placed sutures.
An endoscope is used to access the patient’s stomach and the tools and suturing device used to reshape the stomach are inserted down its hollow center. The entire procedure is conducted from the inside and there are no incisions created anywhere on the body.
The patient’s stomach capacity is reduced by about 70% and closely resembles that of the popular bariatric surgery called vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) or also commonly known as a gastric sleeve. During bariatric gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon uses a scalpel to permanently remove between 70% and 80% of the patient’s stomach. During ESG, the stomach is sutured to be smaller and no portion of it is removed so it can be reversed if necessary.
Many patients have experienced significant weight loss and some have reported numbers as high as 150+ pounds. If you are only 50 pounds overweight, you are probably not eligible for weight loss surgery but ESG would be an excellent solution. The recovery time for endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is only about 1 week compared to the six to eight weeks needed after having bariatric surgery.
How The Orbera Balloon And ESG Work For Weight Loss
The Orbera balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty procedures work for weight loss because they both reduce the patient’s stomach capacity, thus encouraging portion control so the patient cannot eat as much during one meal. Because the stomach is smaller, it takes longer to process food, which helps the patient feel full and satisfied for a longer time.
The smaller stomach size also requires less food to make the patient feel full. Both are effective tools that help patients overcome feeling hungry all the time and overeating, which are some of the most challenging parts of losing weight.
Both the Orbera balloon and ESG offer patients significant weight loss potential without surgery or the complications and risks associated with surgery. These outpatient procedures offer short recovery times and do not require a hospital stay.
With either the Orbera balloon or ESG, the potential for weight loss is influenced significantly by your dietary choices and the level of exercise that is incorporated into your daily life. The patients that have the most significant weight loss modify their lifestyles to incorporate healthy eating and regular exercise. They also take advantage of the wide range of support they have available which makes them successful in reaching their weight loss goals.
Non-surgical weight loss procedures do not have the same strict pre-qualification requirements as bariatric surgery. Most patients will not have to wait an extended length of time before having their procedure.
Keep in mind that non-surgical procedures are not yet covered on most health insurance plans but experts are hopeful that in the near future, ESG will be a covered expense. These procedures are self-pay and most weight loss centers offer financing to qualifying patients.
Expert Help Will Improve Your Weight Loss Success When You Are 50 Pounds Overweight
Losing weight is not easy and can often require fighting both physical and mental battles. To succeed, you need to be prepared for these battles and also understand what you are up against. Often, there are underlying issues that hinder weight loss progress and unless those are dealt with, the weight loss efforts put forth will be in vain. Some of the factors that can inhibit weight loss are genetics, hormonal imbalances, medications, stress, metabolism issues, etc.
The good news is that you do not have to figure all this out alone. The experts at Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions are there to help determine any underlying conditions and create a customized weight loss plan to ensure you reach your goals. Dr. Simmons is the first triple fellowship-trained doctor in bariatric endoscopy, gastroenterology, and obesity medicine in the United States.
Losing weight is a challenge and it will not happen overnight but with Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions, you are not on your own. These weight loss professionals are here to support you on your weight loss journey from start to finish and beyond.
Contact us today to set up a consultation to learn more about non-surgical weight loss procedures to lose 50 pounds or more!