Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that shows no signs of slowing down. Nearly half of all adults are now considered to be overweight or obese. There are numerous reasons why so many people, even children, are suffering from the disease of obesity. High-calorie foods and mega proportions are only part of the problem. Genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy habits like binge eating and alcohol consumption, and some medications are all reasons why someone might pack on excess pounds.
The problem is worsened when you consider that obesity makes it difficult to lose weight, even when trying. Traditional means of losing weight such as diet and exercise are no longer as effective. This leads people who want to improve their health to seek out alternative means of losing weight, namely bariatric surgery.
You may have heard of some of these procedures that have names like gastric sleeve surgery or gastric bypass surgery. But did you know that non-surgical weight loss methods exist also? Knowing that there are two distinct types of weight loss measures, you may wonder why someone would choose one over the other.
That is the conundrum this post aims to solve. If you are overweight or obese and are desperate to lose weight, you might be interested in one of these procedures. But should you choose a non-surgical method or bariatric surgery? By the end of this post, you should have a clear answer to that question.
If you don’t want to wait until the end, you can get all your questions answered by calling Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles, California. Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki specializes in bariatric surgery, non-surgical weight loss alternatives, general surgery, and post-bariatric body contouring. Dial (310)694-4486 to schedule a consultation.
A List of Non-Surgical Weight Loss Methods
When you have tried everything possible to lose weight, but to no avail, these effective methods can make you slimmer and healthier without resorting to surgery.
Weight Loss Medications
Weight loss medicines are not “Magic Pills” that suddenly make the fat melt away, unfortunately. Instead, these pills and injections make it easier to drop the excess pounds. Some work by restricting your appetite while others limit the ability of your body to digest fat. Then there are those that increase your metabolism, thereby turning your digestive system into a fat-burning machine.
One of the most popular weight loss medications currently prescribed is called Wegovy (semaglutide). This weekly injectable is FDA-approved and can help you lose 15% of your body weight. This amounts to around 30 pounds of weight loss for someone who weighs 200 pounds. Wegovy works by making you feel full earlier than you would otherwise.
For those who find Wegovy cost-prohibitive (the shots can cost up to $1,400 per month), another prescription called Mounjaro is available. FDA approval for Mounjaro is still pending, but the medication costs only $75 with a coupon, which is far cheaper. The weight loss prescription increases insulin production when your blood sugar rises while simultaneously slowing the speed at which your body digests food. Mounjaro can help you lose 20% of your body weight, which is around 40 pounds for someone who weighs 200.
Medically Supervised Diets
Medically supervised diets take the guesswork of how to eat healthily. The programs available are customizable and effective for weight loss for anyone suffering from obesity disease. The programs you can choose include behavior modifications or pre-packaged meal plans.
Behavior modification focuses on altering your habits and lifestyle to facilitate sustained weight loss. Doctors tend to recommend this program first. By successfully adopting healthy eating habits and by living a more active lifestyle, you are more likely to succeed with weight loss long into the future.
When you choose a behavior modification program, you will find yourself working with a nutritionist to learn what foods to eat for improved health. You will also learn how much of those foods you should eat during each meal and throughout the day. Technology is often used to monitor your progress along the way. You will also work with a fitness expert who can custom-tailor a workout program. This will be according to your body and fitness level.
Pre-packaged meal replacement plans provide you with a menu of ready-to-eat meal products that are both nutritious and convenient. The meals are designed to taste great too. The meals work in phases. Each phase trains your brain and body to eat healthily with smaller portions than you may be used to. Eventually, you will move past the pre-packaged meals to the meals you prepare yourself. You can lose as much as 10% of your body weight with a medically supervised diet.
Intragastric Balloon System
The intragastric balloon facilitates weight loss by restricting how much you can eat. You also feel fuller faster during meals. The balloons themselves are inflatable and fit comfortably inside your stomach. Once inserted, the balloons take up space, allowing for less room for the food you eat. The balloons are removed after six months, whereby you will work with a team of experts to help you maintain your weight loss over the long term. You can lose as much as 7% to 14% of your excess weight with the average long-term weight loss amounting to as much as 47% overall.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) is also referred to as an accordion procedure. You may have heard of gastric sleeve surgery. This is the non-surgical alternative. The technique is performed with an endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a camera and light at the end. By inserting the endoscope into your throat and down into your stomach, the bariatric surgeon is able to alter your digestive system without having to cut into your abdomen. Using the endoscope, 80% of the stomach is removed. The remaining tissue is shaped into a banana-shaped sleeve. The result makes you less likely to overeat, helping you lose up to 20% of your body weight in the first 24 months.
Today’s Most Prescribed Bariatric Surgeries
The current batch of bariatric surgeries is safe and effective for sustained weight loss.
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG) (Gastric Sleeve)
The gastric sleeve is the world’s most prescribed bariatric surgery. During the procedure, 80% of your stomach is removed, which leaves a banana-shaped sleeve behind. Because the procedure is performed laparoscopically, the procedure is considered minimally invasive with a low chance of complications. You can lose as much as 60% of your excess body weight with the gastric sleeve procedure, which restricts the food you can eat and makes you feel full faster during meals.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
During gastric bypass surgery, the bariatric surgeon reduces the size of your stomach to that of an egg. This is performed by dividing the top of the stomach from the rest of the organ. The small intestine is then divided before the bottom end is brought up and connected to the newly configured stomach pouch. The top portion of the small intestine is then connected to the small intestine further down. This causes stomach acids and digestive enzymes to bypass the stomach and the first portion of the small intestine during digestion. The surgery not only restricts how much food you can eat but also limits the calories and nutrients your body absorbs. You eat less, feel fuller faster, and can lose up to 80% or more of your excess weight in the first 18 to 24 months.
Which Type of Weight Loss Method is Superior for Weight Loss?
If we were to measure the above weight loss methods by the number of potential pounds you can lose, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery would top the list. There’s a good reason gastric bypass surgery is known as the gold standard of weight loss procedures.
Next would come the gastric sleeve, another surgical procedure. At the bottom of the list would be medically supervised diets and weight loss medications. But there is no one best procedure. It all boils down to what your body can tolerate, and your weight loss goals.
Some people do not qualify for bariatric surgical procedures. For these individuals, a medically supervised diet, gastric balloon system, or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty may be better suited. You and your bariatric surgeon will determine which method of weight loss is best for you personally during the initial consultation.
Benefits of Non-Surgical Weight Loss Techniques
The benefits of non-surgical weight loss methods are fewer chances of complications. The techniques are largely temporary by nature (except for ESG). There are no incisions, general anesthesia, or other surgical methods used (this is ideal for anyone nervous about undergoing a surgical procedure).
Non-surgical treatments for weight loss tend to be less expensive than their surgical counterparts. A gastric balloon costs around $4,425 while the gastric sleeve can set you back around $9,350. Keep in mind that these are only base costs and do not include additional costs such as specialist fees, surgical center fees, and so on.
Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgeries are permanent. They force you to eat less and you feel more satiated during meals. They represent a permanent life change, whereby there will be no turning back once you are wheeled into the recovery area. This is a good thing if you have tried everything under the sun to lose weight and nothing has so far worked.
It should be noted that whether you undergo a non-surgical weight loss method or bariatric surgery, you still must do your part. You still need to eat healthy foods and get regular exercise if you hope to be successful with sustained weight loss.
Why Someone Would Choose a Non-Surgical Over a Surgical Bariatric Procedure
There are a few good reasons someone might choose a non-surgical alternative over bariatric surgery. They may have an underlying condition that makes surgery extra risky. They might not be able to afford the higher surgical costs. Or they may not want to face an extended recovery period as you can expect with a bariatric procedure.
Only you and your bariatric surgeon can decide which method of weight loss is right for you. The good news is that you have a comprehensive list of procedures to pursue if you are desperate to lose weight and nothing so far has worked in your favor. That means that if you are overweight or obese and are desperate to lose weight, scheduling a consultation with a bariatric specialist is a good first move to attaining optimal health.
The mere act of losing weight through any one of these means can slim you down, give you more energy, and add zest to your life. Losing only 5% of your excess weight can also act as a treatment for any number of obesity comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many, many more.
So, what are you waiting for?
Schedule a Consultation for Doctor Prescribed Weight Loss in Los Angeles
Losing weight is never easy when your weight has increased to the point of obesity. Diet and exercise may not be as effective for you as for someone of normal weight. Seeing a bariatric specialist can give you relief. A discreet consultation can help you determine if you are a suitable candidate for a non-surgical weight loss method or bariatric surgery, starting you on a path to improved health and quality of life.
If you live in or near Los Angeles, you are encouraged to call Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics. Doctor Moeinolmolki is a bariatric specialist with over two decades of experience helping men and women in your exact situation. Dial (310)694-4486 and see how much your life can change by exploring the amazing benefits of bariatric science.