Conventional wisdom tells us that losing weight involves diet and exercise. When those traditional means of getting healthy fail to work, bariatric surgery is the usual next step. But what if you don’t qualify for surgery or are not ready to commit? Are you destined to suffer the disease of obesity for life?
Bariatric scientists have developed a range of non-surgical alternatives to weight loss surgery. Instead of resorting to incisions and extended downtime, this innovative group of health-promoting procedures gives you a chance to drop the excess weight while returning to your regular routine almost immediately.
Want to know more? Are you excited to defeat obesity using the latest in scientific advancements? This post is for you.
Keep reading to learn all about this new batch of non-surgical bariatric procedures, how they work, and the amount of weight you stand to lose by opting for each one. We will also cover the other benefits of these procedures, the risks, and whether insurance will help you cover some or all of the costs. If you are sick of being heavy and are desperate to lose weight, you’ll want to read to the end, where we will divulge where you can have these procedures performed in & near Los Angeles, California.
What are the Non-Surgical Alternatives to Bariatric Surgery?
Can’t seem to drop the excess pounds with diet and exercise alone? Maybe it’s time to give the following non-surgical remedies a try as recommended by bariatric surgeons for patients who don’t want or fail to qualify for surgery.
Medically Supervised Diets
To help you lose weight and treat obesity-related afflictions like type 2 diabetes, medically supervised weight loss programs are available nationwide. The purpose of these programs is to help you manage your body weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, the program is designed to improve your quality of life and reduce the risks of diseases like coronary heart disease.
To qualify for a medically supervised diet, you must tell your doctor that you are experiencing difficulty losing weight on your own. Your doctor can recommend a bariatric specialist who can place you on a medically supervised program.
The programs available are customizable depending on your specific needs. They may involve behavior modification training, which focuses on changes to diet and exercise. This is usually the first option and involves the help of nutritionists and technology to assist in the monitoring of what you eat, when, and how much you are eating during meals, as well as how much exercise you engage in to maintain long-term weight loss.
Another common variation of a medically supervised diet program is the pre-packaged meal replacement plan. These ready-to-go meals help you lose weight by giving you the proper nutrition and portion sizes without having to think too much about what and how much you’re eating. The program also involves counseling and behavior changes to ensure unhealthy habits like overeating are not contributing to weight loss stall.
Weight Loss Medication
Weight loss medication is an additional non-surgical option that doctors sometimes recommend when diet and exercise fail to make you lose weight on your own. Prescription weight loss drugs like semaglutide (Wegovy) and liraglutide (Saxenda) manage the sensation of hunger and fullness and help you modify your behavior and prevent you from overeating. Some drugs prevent your body from digesting fat.
The intragastric balloon is a medical device that sits inside your stomach. There it takes up room that would usually be reserved for food. Since your stomach now has less room for the food you eat, you end up eating less. You also feel fuller faster during meals. The gastric balloon is an excellent choice for weight loss when diet and exercise have not worked for you. There is no surgery required, no incisions, and no scars.
To qualify for the gastric balloon, your body mass index (BMI) must be between 30 and 40. You must also be willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes.
There are several types of gastric balloons. Talk to a bariatric specialist to determine which type might be right for you.
Orbera and Reshape
The Orbera and Reshape gastric balloons are similar in regard to placement and how they work. The placement procedure takes no more than a half hour to perform. You will most likely be able to return home the same day.
To place the balloon, the bariatric specialist and staff will set you up in a treatment room. From there, your throat will be treated with a special numbing spray. The numbing sensation helps your throat tolerate the instruments used to place the balloon in your stomach. You can also ask the specialist for an injection to make you feel sleepy if you prefer. These options will be discussed with you during the initial consultation.
Once you are comfortable, the specialist or support staff inserts a plastic mouth guard between your teeth. This device is necessary for keeping your mouth open during the procedure.
A scope is passed through your mouth and into your stomach. You will not feel a thing and your breathing will not be affected. The scope allows the specialist to see inside your stomach.
The scope is removed before a deflated gastric balloon is passed into your stomach. The balloon is then inflated with air or saline solution.
The specialist passes the scope into your stomach one final time to check that the balloon is in the proper position and properly inflated.
The Obalon gastric balloon works a bit differently. Instead of passing a deflated balloon into your stomach, you will swallow the balloon like a pill. You merely take the tablet with a glass of water just as you would a vitamin.
Read our article: Obalon Balloon System Puts You Back in Charge of Your Health
Over the course of the six-month treatment, up to three balloons will be placed in your stomach. Unlike Orbera and Reshape, a scope is not used with Obalon until the balloons are removed.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is a newer type of bariatric procedure. The minimally invasive weight loss procedure involves the insertion of a suturing device into your throat and down to your stomach.
The device is used to suture your stomach to make it smaller. You will then be prevented from overeating while the feeling of fullness is greatly enhanced during meals.
Since the procedure does not involve outside incisions, the risk of operative complications is drastically reduced. There is also almost no downtime, allowing you to return to your daily activities quickly.
To be successful with endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, you must commit to a healthier lifestyle. That means you must make permanent healthy changes to your diet and get regular exercise to ensure your long-term success.
To qualify for the ESG procedure, you must have a body mass index of 30 or more. You must also be able to demonstrate that diet and exercise have failed to work for you.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Compare to Non-Surgical Alternatives?
Weight loss surgeries are permanent operations that can produce significant weight loss rapidly. Many patients of popular procedures like gastric sleeve surgery and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery end up losing the majority of their excess weight within a year and a half. There are incisions used during these surgeries, and that means there will be resulting scars, though the scars will usually fade over time.
All surgeries come with risks, but serious risks are rare. Bariatric surgeries are known for being safe and effective at helping patients lose weight and get healthy. In fact, bariatric procedures are also known for being effective treatments for obesity comorbidities like obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure. The procedures can also lower your risk of stroke, heart attacks, and several types of cancers.
Non-surgical weight loss procedures like medically supervised diets, weight loss medications, and the intragastric balloon are temporary measures. The concept is to give you a head start with your weight loss while teaching you how to control your eating and ultimately change your lifestyle behaviors.
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is a permanent procedure akin to gastric sleeve surgery without the extended downtime or risks to your health commonly associated with surgical procedures.
Which one of these procedures you qualify for will depend on the state of your health, your health history, and your weight loss goals.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With These Procedures?
Now to the nitty gritty. You want to know how much you stand to lose by choosing one of the above non-surgical weight loss options.
Medically supervised diets are offered in 12- or 24-week packages and weight loss typically averages between 3 to 5 pounds per week.
Prescription weight loss options vary so much that it is difficult to give an exact weight loss range. Generally speaking, however, you can expect to lose between 5% to 10% of your starting body weight while also improving your health by lowering your blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and blood sugar.
The intragastric balloon can help you lose between 7% to 15% of your body weight during the six-month placement program. Total excess body weight can range between 30% to 47% of your body weight overall.
Patients who opt for the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty can expect weight loss of 15% to 20% of their starting body weight.
Benefits of Non-Surgical Bariatric Procedures
We’ve already covered some of the benefits of non-surgical weight loss procedures like no incisions, no scars, and the resolution of weight-related ailments like diabetes. But even with a procedure like ESG, you get to look forward to a fast recovery. What’s not to love about that?
Are There Risks to Non-Surgical Bariatric Procedures?
With medically supervised diets, the biggest risk you face is falling back into old habits. Sticking with the program will teach you how to manage a healthy lifestyle and, ultimately, your weight.
Prescription medications for weight loss each have their own side effects to contend with. These can pose a risk to your health. You might also have to try two or more medications before you find one that works best for you.
Potential risks of the intragastric balloon include balloon deflation, ulceration, gastrointestinal obstruction, and gastric and esophageal perforation.
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty can possibly cause pain and nausea for several days following the procedure. These symptoms can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Most people begin to feel better within a few days.
Your bariatric specialist will ensure that you are aware of all risks to your health before starting any of these non-surgical programs or operations. You can discuss the risks with your specialist during the initial consultation.
How Much Do Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures Cost?
Medically Supervised Diets
Depending on the program you choose, medically supervised diets can cost between $25 and $110 per week.
Weight Loss Medication
Weight loss prescriptions vary widely in cost from $14 to over $1,000. Check with your doctor to determine which prescription is right for your weight loss goals.
The intragastric balloon costs $8,150 on average.
Endoscopic Gastric Gastroplasty
Meanwhile, the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty procedure costs between $10,000 and $16,000.
Does Insurance Cover Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures?
Your health insurance policy may cover medically supervised diets and weight loss prescriptions. However, unfortunately, health insurers currently do not cover gastric balloons or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty.
Change Your Life for the Better with Non-Surgical Alternatives to Bariatric Surgery
The process of dropping excess pounds can be frustrating, especially when diet and exercise fail to work. If this is the case for you, don’t think you have to resort to weight loss surgery. While surgical methods can enact significant amounts of weight loss quickly, there are non-surgical alternatives, which you now know about.
You can determine if you are a suitable candidate for one of these procedures by scheduling a consultation with Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki in Los Angeles, California. Doctor Moeinolmolki operates an accredited surgical center called Healthy Life Bariatrics, where he performs bariatric surgery, general surgery, and post-bariatric body contouring all under one roof.
Read our article: Post-Bariatric Body Contouring Surgery Helps You Find Body Acceptance
Learn more about medically supervised diets, weight loss prescriptions, the intragastric balloon, or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty by calling (310)694-4486.