31 December, 2023

Non-Surgical Alternatives To Stomach Surgery For Weight Loss

Since the late 1960s, the rate of obesity has more than tripled and is now considered an epidemic. Researchers keep digging for answers as to what’s causing this global obesity crisis. Despite the hundreds of articles, studies, and conclusions that have been drawn, the situation continues to worsen.

Despite widespread awareness of the dangers of obesity and the prevalence of related chronic medical conditions as well as the global scope of the issue, no viable solution has been implemented. At this rate, experts are predicting that by the year 2030, roughly half of American adults will be classified as obese, and the annual medical costs related to treating obesity and related conditions could increase by as much as $65 billion.

It appears that there will be no national intervention (at least anytime soon) that will ensure our food choices are healthier or that everyone has access to healthy whole foods. This means that we all must be more diligent in caring for ourselves. For our bodies to function properly, we must maintain a healthy weight.

If you are currently suffering from obesity, chances are you have tried to lose weight on your own. Here at Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions, we understand how frustrating it can be when you do all you can and it is ineffective. Please understand that you are not alone; many people are in the same predicament.

Research has proven that there are many underlying factors that can influence both weight gain and the ability to lose weight and keep it off. Studies have also shown that most obese individuals require some type of medical intervention for them to experience sustainable weight loss.

Today, we are going to talk about new non-surgical procedures that can offer similar results to stomach bypass surgery for weight loss. Although there are many changes that need to be made for our nation to defeat obesity, these non-surgical weight loss options are a step in the right direction.

History Of The Types Of Stomach Surgery For Weight Loss

Currently, there are several forms of stomach surgery for weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery has been around since the early 1950s, but the technique has improved significantly since then.

The duodenal switch technique was created in the late 1980s to help alleviate the side effects of acid reflux that many patients experienced after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. The duodenal switch was performed in two different steps that required two separate surgeries. The first surgery reduced the size of the patient’s stomach, which was then allowed to heal. The second part rerouted a portion of their intestines to prevent much of the food ingested from being absorbed by the body, thereby limiting their caloric intake.

Gastric sleeve surgery was actually the first step of the duodenal switch technique. It was discovered that patients lost a considerable amount of weight while they were waiting for the first step of their duodenal switch to heal so they could undergo the second step. The gastric sleeve then became a stand-alone procedure, and the first laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery was performed in 1999. It is currently the most popular and frequently performed stomach surgery for weight loss.

Take a look at the chart below and compare the average weight loss percentages for the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty that is done without surgery and the gastric sleeve surgical procedure. Non-surgical ESG offers many more benefits than surgery and is clearly an option that could help the vast majority of individuals who choose not to undergo bariatric surgery.

Comparison Of Stomach Surgery For Weight Loss vs. Non-Surgical Alternatives To Stomach Surgery

Orbera Balloon Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty ESG Gastric Sleeve Gastric Bypass Duodenal Switch
Does this procedure require surgery? No No Yes Yes Yes
Is any stomach tissue surgically removed? No No Yes Yes Yes
Are there any surgical changes to the digestive system? No No No Yes Yes
Can this procedure be reversed? Yes, This procedure is temporary. Yes, ESG can be reversed. No No No
What is the average weight loss potential and timeframe? 30% excess weight in 6 months 60-65% of excess weight in one year 55-65% in one year 51-65% in a year 70-80% excess weight in one year
What is the average recovery time? 3 to 4 days 3 days to 1 week 4 to 6 weeks 4 to 6 weeks 6 to 8 weeks

Advancements In Endobariatrics

Up until fairly recently, the only form of medical intervention that could provide any reasonable amount of help to an obese individual was bariatric surgery. In addition to being drastic and invasive, the hoops that many had to jump through to even qualify for the surgery were exhausting. Then there was the recovery time of at least four to six weeks to consider. Most patients just couldn’t go through with it; in fact, 99% of them chose to forgo these surgical options.

Fortunately, researchers have been working diligently to develop procedures that will be safe and effective for weight loss but are lower-risk, less invasive, and do not have long recovery times. This is how the field of endobariatrics came to exist. This field is dedicated to treating obesity through non-surgical endoscopic procedures.

The first endobariatric procedure for weight loss was FDA-approved in the United States in 2015, with the introduction of the Orbera gastric weight loss balloon, (Of course, at that time, the term “endobariatric” had not been thought of.) The Orbera had been used in 80 other countries before it was formally launched in the U.S.

In the summer of 2022, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty became the newest non-surgical weight loss procedure to join the endobariatric family.

What Are The Alternatives To Stomach Surgery For Weight Loss?

Currently, there are three endobariatric non-surgical alternatives to stomach surgery for weight loss.

The Orbera Gastric Balloon

A silicone balloon-like medical device is released into an individual’s stomach to take up space, making them unable to eat very much during each meal. The balloon also keeps them from feeling hungry between meals. The Orbera device only stays in their stomach for six months and is then taken out. A special tool called an endoscope is lowered down a sedated patient’s throat and used to access their stomach. The balloon is placed and filled with saline through the endoscope during a 15- to 20-minute outpatient visit, and there are no incisions made during the procedure. Removal of the balloon is also done endoscopically similar to how it was placed.

Orbera gastric balloon

Part of the success of the Orbera balloon program is that while the patient is getting some much-needed help with their portion control and hunger response, they are also learning how to make better lifestyle choices. They receive a high level of support, education, and guidance regarding behaviors that promote maintaining a healthy weight.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

This non-surgical procedure only takes about an hour to complete and can help patients lose the same amount of weight as the bariatric gastric sleeve.

There are no incisions made in the patient’s abdomen like those required during gastric sleeve surgery, and no part of the stomach is surgically removed. Instead of surgically removing part of the patient’s stomach like during gastric sleeve surgery, the reduction during ESG is completed by reshaping it to a smaller size and using sutures to hold it in place.

Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty

Because it is much less invasive than stomach surgery for weight loss, no hospital stay is required, and patients can go home just hours after their ESG procedure. The patients are unable to eat as much as they did before because of their smaller stomach size and they also stay satisfied longer. Most patients see tremendous weight loss after ESG.

Revision To Bariatric Surgery

Many people who undergo stomach surgery for weight loss regain some or all of their lost weight within 2 to 5 years. There can be many different reasons that could cause this to happen.

Sometimes, patients can overeat just a small amount, but it is enough to stretch out their stomach so that the next time they eat, they are able to eat a little bit more. If this continues, their stomach could gradually increase to a much larger size, undoing the restrictive nature of their initial bariatric surgery.

Additionally, the connection between the stomach and the intestine can widen, allowing more food to pass through at a faster rate, resulting in them feeling hungry more frequently.

These issues can be remedied through a non-surgical revision procedure. The doctor will access the patient’s stomach through the endoscope, which is placed down the throat while they are under sedation. A special suturing device is placed down the endoscope and used to tighten up the stomach pouch and the connection point, restoring the weight loss potential of the initial surgery.

Take Charge Of Your Health By Getting Help To Lose Weight

Choosing to take control of your health and well-being should start with reducing your body mass index (BMI). Losing weight provides a host of health benefits and can reverse or eliminate related conditions such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

It is not possible to lose weight quickly and effortlessly; rather, it requires a lifelong commitment to making healthy choices. It is harder to lose weight when you are trying to do it by yourself.

Most of our society thinks that weight loss is a matter of willpower and should boil down to eating less and exercising more. Although these two things are pieces of the puzzle, things are more complex than that.

Obesity is a disease that does not affect everyone in the same way. Most people do not really know that there can be a host of underlying factors that are either causing them to gain weight or preventing them from successfully losing it. This is often why traditional diet and exercise plans do not promote sustainable weight loss.

Obtaining help from a professional who is specifically trained in the complexities of obesity offers you the opportunity to reach your weight loss goals and maintain them over the long term.

Where Can I Find An Expert In Obesity Management Who Offers Alternatives To Stomach Surgery?

Dr. Okeefe Simmons is the nation’s first physician with triple fellowship training in gastroenterology, obesity medicine, and bariatric endoscopy. He and his team at Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions are ready to partner with you to help you lose weight and improve your quality of life.

From your first consultation and throughout your weight loss journey, you will receive unprecedented support. We will work with you to create a plan that will take your weight loss history into account and identify and address any underlying issues that may have prevented you from losing weight in the past.

The old saying “knowledge is power” rings true when it comes to weight loss. You cannot address something if you are not aware it exists. Also, when you begin to understand the importance of nutrition and the benefits of making healthy choices, it arms you with the knowledge you need to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.

Set up an appointment today and begin your journey to better health!

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