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. (more…)
POSE is performed without an incision, making recovery time significantly less. It is designed for patients wanting to lose between 25 to 60 pounds. The procedure, which takes about an hour, is done by inserting a tube through the mouth down to the stomach. Tiny tools then work to permanently fold sections of the stomach until its size is diminished sufficiently; in essence, shrinking the stomach. The device used in the surgery is cleared by the FDA for other tissue approximation procedures, but not yet for weight loss surgery.
The Doctors highlight the story of Gloria who chose the procedure after years of weight gain and useless dieting. She has lost 26 pounds so far, and expects to lose more. As with any weight loss procedure, changing her diet and fitness levels were also necessary. (more…)
By Mary Hartley, RD, MPH for Vidazorb Chewable Probiotics*
You have one big family of 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut. That’s ten times more bacteria than total human cells. So far scientists have identified more than 500 strains, each an independent organism with a unique set of genes and talents. It’s important to keep your big family happy.
The “friendly” bacteria in your gut help to digest your food and regulate your immune system. Most of those friends are members of the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium genera. We all share certain specific bacterial colonies, but there is wide variation in the overall balance. We each have different proportions of bacterial species in us, and bacterial imbalance may contribute to many diseases including allergies, infections, and autoimmune conditions, and now, obesity.
In studies, gut bacteria seem to influence weight. The mix of bacteria may play a role in the tendency to gain. Early research shows that morbidly obese people have different gut bacteria compared to healthy weight people. Obese people have more of the bacteria called Firmicutes and fewer Bifidobacteria spp and Bacteroidetes, and the reverse is true (1). Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery shifts the microbe mix. Before surgery and the reduction of food intake, obese people have more Firmicutes, but after surgery, they develop more Bacteroidetes (2).
Mice can be made to gain weight – or not – by manipulating their gut bacteria. When normal weight mice are colonized with bacteria from genetically obese mice they gain weight, but not so when the microbes come from mice of normal weight (3). Likewise, inoculating mice with Lactobacillus ingluviei changes their intestinal flora and increases their weight (4). The evidence is compelling and we’ve only just begun to look. (more…)
With the risk of blood clots and other complications following weight loss surgery, women are having to find other options than a typical estrogen-based contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. Estrogen-based contraceptives, like Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, that contain ethinyl estradiol are more likely to cause blood clots and increase blood pressure. But don’t fret, there are a lot of options available.
Estrogen-free birth controls, or progestin-only birth controls, only contain one form of hormone but are still effective in preventing pregnancy. These are a good option for those who are overweight, have high blood pressure and are at risk for blood clots. Weight loss surgery patients probably have at least two of these three issues.
Oral contraceptives include Jolivette, also known as Ortho-Micronor, which is taken daily; the Depo-provera shot, which is administered in a doctor’s office every three months; and Mirena, the intrauterine device or IUD. One concern with progestin birth controls is the increase risk of weight gain. This is usually pretty minimal and can be controlled with proper nutrition and exercise. (more…)
The New Life Surgery Center in Beverly Hills and the Valley Surgical Center in West Hills have stopped performing Lap-Band surgeries while they conduct a top-to-bottom review of the medical procedure. These two California clinics are affiliated with the 1-800 GET THIN marketing company and the move to stop procedures comes after Irvine-based Allergan’s announcement that it would stop selling the Lap-Band device to companies affiliated with the ad campaign.
The 1-800 GET THIN marketing company has been targeted in state and federal investigations in recent months. The Lap-Band is an adjustable ring that is surgically placed around the stomach in obese patients to reduce the amount of food eaten to spark weight loss. 1-800 GET THIN actually markets to those that need to lose weight and allows them to call or go to the web site to find a Lap-Band provider in the California area. The company offers insurance verification, orientation and will answer any questions you have about the surgery. Basically, this company advertises and markets Lap-Band surgeries through billboards and other traditional advertising methods.
The FDA has recently issued letters of warning for misleading advertising to 1-800 GET THIN and all eight of the California surgical centers affiliated with them. There is a class action lawsuit pending as well for anyone that responded to advertisements by 1-800 GET THIN for surgery. While these ads highlighted and glamorized the benefits of Lap-Band surgery, they didn’t address some of the drawbacks of the procedure.