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Stomach Balloon May Aid in Weight Loss, but You Have to Go to Canada for It

As the amount of weight loss surgeries in the U.S. continue to rise, doctors are finding different and better ways to surgically treat obesity. One of the newest players in the game is called an intragastric balloon, and as it’s not approved for use in the United States, many patients have chosen to cross the border to Canada to do the procedure.

The intragastric balloon is less invasive than traditional bariatric surgery. It involves inserting a tube down the esophagus into the stomach, so there’s no surgical incision. A deflated balloon is then threaded down the tube, and once placed, blown up to the size of an orange and filled with sterile blue water. It can stay there for up to six months, at which point it is removed to prevent ruptures. This can be done multiple times if the patient continues to need the support the balloon provides. The balloon decreases the patient’s feelings of hunger, making them eat less and lose weight.

Although the average weight of Americans continues to bound upward, there are still very few bariatric surgeries performed annually. Less than one percent of individuals who meet the criteria for bariatric surgery actually have surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Each year, about 250,000 Americans choose to have some form of weight loss surgery, the most popular being gastric bypass, a gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, or duodenal switch. These involve removing a portion of the stomach, restricting how much food can go into the stomach, rerouting the intestinal system, or a combination of these methods. The gastric sleeve is cheapest, costing around $10,000, while the others range from $17,000 to $35,000, according to the Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery.
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Diabetes Returns in One-Fifth of Those Cured Through Bariatric Surgery

Many people who undergo bariatric procedures for weight loss like gastric bypass surgery, LAP band surgery, or gastric sleeve surgery enjoy drastic weight loss along with the elimination of many weight related diseases. Having a form of bariatric surgery happens to be one of the top ways to cure type 2 diabetes.

As many as 95 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes were cured of the disease through weight loss achieved as a result of their surgery. A new study done by the Mayo Clinic Arizona has recently shown that more than one-fifth of those who were cured have had their diabetes return within five years, even if the patient hadn’t gained any weight. Those who were most susceptible to this were those who had diabetes the longest prior to surgery.

In this study, 72 obese patients were monitored during the years 2000 to 2007 with all patients having had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Of those studied, a total of 66 patients had a diabetes reversal at some time, and then 14 of those patients had their diabetes return between three and five years after their surgery. Those who had diabetes for more than five years had almost four times the risk of it coming back than those who had it less than five years before surgery.
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Carnie Wilson Has Second Weight Loss Surgery

After having gastric bypass surgery 12 years ago, Carnie Wilson then underwent lap-band surgery on January 18 to lose weight.

Having gastric bypass surgery helped Carnie lose 150 pounds. The surgery reduced the size of the stomach and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. In contrast to that, the lap-band surgery involves having a silicone band inserted around the stomach which creates a small pouch about the same size as a golf ball. Since having her lap-band surgery, Carnie has lost 30 pounds. Although she did have success with the gastric bypass procedure, she found it difficult after having two children to lose her pregnancy weight.

“It was the right decision for me and I’m doing really well so far. It’s all about taking good care of myself,” Wilson says. Wilson is part of the best-selling female group of the 1990s, Wilson Phillips and is currently promoting her upcoming album. She and fellow group members will be starring in their own reality show this April.


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Endoluminal Incision-free Bariatric Surgery Debuts

The first-ever endoluminal incision-free bariatric surgery was performed on January 22, 2012, at the 3rd Annual Apollo Bariatric Surgery Conference (ABSCON 2012) in Chennai, India. Endoluminal Incision-free Bariatric Surgery DebutsThis operation was actually the first ever known endoluminal revision of a prior sleeve gastrectomy performed in the world.

The operation, which was shown via video link to 80 surgeons attending the ABSCON 2012 conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chennai, was performed by New York bariatric surgeon, Dr. Elliot Goodman and assisted by Dr. Rajkumar Palaniappan of the bariatric surgery service of Apollo Hospital in Chennai.

The 27 year old, male patient had previously undergone a sleeve gastrectomy in 2011 and has since lost 33 pounds. However, his weight stabilized and he had actually regained 4 pounds within the past month.


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Weight Loss Surgery Coverage Push

More obese Americans may be given the opportunity to have their weight loss surgery covered by insurance if device manufacturers have their way. Allergan Inc., makers of the LapBand gastric banding device, has been the most vocal in their efforts to give obese patients access to this life-altering surgery. Weight Loss Surgery Coverage PushBeing able to have this surgery covered by insurance will give patients the tools they need to fight a host of life-threatening illnesses brought on by their obesity. Allergan proposes that allowing more people access to insurance coverage will save billions of dollars in healthcare costs for both the government and employers.

The Dilemma

Critics argue that bariatric surgery has high rates of complications which can reach into the thousands and that the surgery doesn’t change the underlying behavior.


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