5 Crazy New Ways to Lose Weight
By Amber 0
You know that uncomfortably full feeling that sets in after a big meal? That’s the idea behind the gastric balloon, which can cost $ 5,000 to $ 7,000. A silicone balloon is placed into your stomach endoscopically through a tube, or you swallow it in a pill that’s tethered to a small catheter. Then the balloon is inflated to roughly the size of a grapefruit.
“It’s sort of like eating a big Thanksgiving dinner, and the ‘Thanksgiving full’ feeling doesn’t leave your stomach,” says Vladimir Kushnir, M.D., director of bariatric endoscopy at Washington University in St. Louis. Temporary side effects can include vomiting, nausea, cramping, and discomfort. But once your body acclimates to the balloon, there aren’t many restrictions: just no rugby or kickboxing or any activity that could get you punched in the gut.
DOES IT WORK?
This procedure isn’t for minor toning. It’s for people who need to lose 25 pounds or more. Dr. Kushnir, who was involved in clinical trials of the Obalon intragastric balloon (the swallowable pill form, recently approved by the FDA), says it’s typical for patients to lose 25 percent of their excess weight. “On rare occasions, someone will drop more than 50 pounds,” he says. It isn’t a magic bullet, he warns, but should be considered just a tool to supplement weight loss efforts.
Christine Ren-Fielding, M.D., a professor and chief of bariatric surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, says the balloon is more of a weight loss jumpstart.
Dr. Katz is more skeptical: “It can cause atrophy of the stomach lining or even rupturing of the stomach,” he says. The balloon comes out after six months, and patients are encouraged to keep meeting with their program dietitian to reinforce the healthy behaviors they learned. But as with any weight loss procedure, success depends on your ability to maintain a low-calorie diet.