Revolutionary Weight Loss Procedure Sends Patients To Canada

New Weight Loss Procedure Sends Patients to Canada

A relatively new weight loss procedure is sending American patients to Canada for treatment.

The intragastric balloon is available in Canada, Europe and South America, but not in the United States, where it’s currently awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration following clinical trials. Subsequently, the wait is sending some Americans interested in the procedure across the border to Canada, where it’s been available since 2006.

The innovative operation involves inserting a liquid-filled balloon into the stomach through the esophagus while the patient is under anesthesia. The balloon is a temporary measure and is removed after a few months.

Experts say it may be an option for extremely obese people who need to lose some weight before more invasive weight loss surgery. “I feel full all the time. I have to remind myself at times to eat,” Tammy Kwarciak, a Michigan nurse who had the procedure in February, said.

The intragastric balloon does have its critics. Some doctors say the balloon will cause nausea or even ulcers in some patients, and there’s the risk the balloon can deflate and obstruct the intestines. Studies also show the average weight loss for patients using the balloon ranges from 13-34 pounds.

Success with the intragastric balloon often hinges on lifestyle changes on the part of the patient, including diet and exercise. It’s the best way to keep the weight off after the balloon is removed.

There’s no timetable on approval of the procedure in the United States. The FDA says that it reviews medical devices to assure American patients that they’re both safe and effective.

Source: the New York Times



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