Exploring Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures

By: 
True You
February 16, 2021

Losing weight can be hard, and billions of dollars are spent every year by Americans trying to shed unwanted pounds. Fad diets, expensive exercise equipment, and unused gym memberships are just some of the tools people use to try to lose weight, but they’re usually ineffective and often demoralizing. When the traditional methods don’t work, some people turn to bariatric surgery for help. Even though this kind of surgery can be effective, surgery itself brings its own risks—especially for those with comorbidities that make any kind of surgery dangerous. 

At True You, we are passionate about offering an alternative to the endless cycle of trying new methods and becoming frustrated with the results. Instead, we specialize in state-of-the-art non-surgical, outpatient procedures that can bring the results of surgery without the need for actual surgery. All of our procedures are minimally invasive, and that means both less risk and less recovery time. If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, you may want to consider options like ESG, ORBERA®, or the AspireAssist.  

The Downsides of Weight Loss Surgery

Well-known bariatric surgeries like Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, lap-band, and gastric sleeve can be effective at helping you lose weight, but they also all require complex surgical activity. Even though most are done laparoscopically these days, the surgery still requires incisions in the abdomen as well as internal incisions. The very nature of this type of laparoscopic surgery creates a variety of risks and side effects, including infection, internal bleeding, and blood clots. Moreover, for people with weakened immune systems, these kinds of risks can be even more pronounced. 

Additionally, the type of incisions involved in bariatric surgery often require multi-day hospital stays; this is primarily so that doctors can monitor your condition in the event any complications arise. Beyond that, the recovery time after surgery can be significant. Depending on the type of surgery and your reaction to it, recovery can take more than a month, at which time you can return to your normal activities. And during that recovery time, you remain vulnerable to many of the possible complications. So even though the surgery may ultimately be effective, the process can feel overwhelming. 

Who Can Benefit From Non-surgical Weight Loss Procedures?

Most types of bariatric surgery determine eligibility based on having a BMI of at least 40 (or 35 for those with comorbidities like type 2 diabetes). BMI is short for “body mass index,” a value determined by weight and height that indicates how likely a person is to be overweight or obese. At True You, our procedures are designed to be ideal for those who have a BMI of 30 or higher and who haven’t had success with more traditional weight loss methods like diet and exercise regimens. 

ESG - Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty

Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is actually similar to the bariatric surgery called sleeve gastrectomy in that they both involve reforming the stomach into a sleeve-like shape. The major difference, of course, is that ESG is done entirely with an endoscope, a flexible tube that is fed down the esophagus and into the stomach. Unlike with sleeve gastrectomy, the entire procedure is done without the need for internal or external incisions. 

Once the endoscope is in the stomach, specialized suturing tools mounted on the end of the tube are used to stitch together two sides of the stomach along its greater curvature. In effect, a large portion of the stomach is cordoned off until only a narrow sleeve remains. Once complete, only about 20% of stomach volume remains, and that means substantially less food is able to be eaten. By feeling full faster, you won’t eat as much, and you’ll be able to start losing excess weight due to a caloric deficit.   

ESG is not reversible; the sutures used to stitch together the inside of the stomach will safely remain in your stomach, but the stomach wall will heal around them and become permanent. The potential amount of weight you can lose will vary by person, but our patients have seen an average of 23% total body weight loss after the first year. The main reason for this sustained weight loss is that a smaller stomach size promotes permanent positive changes to eating habits.  

ORBERA®

The ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss System is a very different approach to weight loss in terms of the procedure, though the fundamental method of weight loss is similar to ESG and other weight loss procedures. Rather than physically altering the size of the stomach as in ESG, ORBERA® involves the placement of a deflated “gastric balloon” directly into the stomach cavity via endoscopy. The balloon is then filled with a completely safe saline solution until it grows to about the size of a grapefruit. 

The presence of the inflated ORBERA® balloon has the same basic effect as ESG: it reduces the overall size of the stomach so that a smaller amount of food is able to be eaten. You’ll feel full sooner, and over time eating less food will lead to the same kind of caloric deficit that leads to weight loss. The whole procedure takes around 10-15 minutes, and it is designed to stay in your stomach for six months until it is removed. In those six months, True You patients have been able to lose between 30-50 pounds on average—nearly three times more weight loss than diet and exercise alone!  

AspireAssist

While ORBERA® and ESG rely on stomach volume reduction, the AspireAssist is a different kind of weight loss solution. This procedure involves inserting a small tube through a “port” in your abdomen that reaches into your stomach. After each meal, and in the privacy of a restroom, you attach a small pump to the port and pump out up to 30% of the meal out of your stomach and into the toilet. 

Weight loss is achieved with the AspireAssist in part by simply removing a significant portion of the calories you ingested before they are absorbed by the body. The other element of weight loss comes indirectly through different eating habits. In order for it to be most effective, you have to eat and chew more slowly; this change reinforces healthier eating habits and provides more time for feelings of fullness to be felt. The AspireAssist is a relatively new procedure, but early clinical trials suggest that it can potentially help someone lose three times more weight than through diet and exercise alone. 

Freedom is Waiting

In the past, complex and potentially risky bariatric surgery was one of the only options for those who couldn’t lose weight through traditional methods. And because of the potential comorbidities involved in obesity, many people aren’t even realistically candidates for surgery because of the risks. At True You, we believe that there are alternatives for people all along the spectrum of being overweight or obese. 

If you are tired of fad diets and unsustainable exercise routines, our non-surgical weight loss procedures may be just what you’ve been waiting for. To learn more about ESG, ORBERA®, the AspireAssist, or our other offerings, request a consultation today. Our highly qualified staff has extensive experience in performing these procedures and helping many people finally find the freedom they’ve been searching for. 

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