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New Weight Loss Procedure for Patients Not Obese Enough for Bariatric Surgery

Tim Boyer's picture
Weight Loss Procedure for not obese enough

To qualify for Bariatric weight loss surgery, a patient has to typically be clinically diagnosed as being morbidly obese. But what if you are short of being morbidly obese and want some medical intervention that can work just as well - if not better than - bariatric surgery? According to a recent news report, a new weight loss procedure for patients not obese enough for bariatric surgery may be approved by the FDA in the near future.


There are several medically accepted criteria for diagnosing someone as being morbidly obese. Most physicians consider a patient to be morbidly obese - and therefore a candidate for weight loss surgery - if a patient:

• Is more than 100 lbs. over their ideal body weight, or
• has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or
• has a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe comorbid conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes related to being severely overweight
• Is unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even after medically supervised dieting

However, if a patient does not meet the criteria and is seriously overweight with the probability that their condition will eventually advance to the point of becoming morbidly obese, there is a new option that is less invasive than typical bariatric surgery and may work just as well as surgery - gastric balloon assisted weight loss.

According to a CBS-affiliated news report from Memphis, Tennessee, approximately 150 patients have already taken part in clinical trials of a gastric balloon assisted weight loss procedure in Memphis, and thus far - the bariatric surgeons are pleased with the results.

“The balloon makes intuitive sense. The stomach can only hold so much capacity and when the balloon is in there it reduces the stomach’s capacity to hold other things,” said Dr. George Woodman with Midsouth Bariatrics.

The gastric balloon assisted weight loss procedure consists of endoscopically inserting a small, soft silicon balloon in its deflated state, after which it is inflated with either air or sterile saline. The purpose of the inflated balloon is to decrease the free space available for food while eating; and thereby, giving a feeling of fullness without the extra calories from food. The benefit of this method is that unlike the more typical gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy methods, the patients do not have to go under the knife and undergo permanent surgical alteration of their digestive tract.

The gastric balloon is a 6-month long temporary measure that provides a patient with help toward getting an easily manageable jump start on their weight loss, and time to institute good eating habits so that they will not regain the lost weight after the gastric balloon is removed.

One patient testimony in the news report states that she lost 80 pounds during the 6 months she had the gastric balloon, and is not regaining her lost weight.

“You don’t realize it’s there when you are going about, but when you eat you are limited on how much you can eat,” stated the patient.

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According to the news report, Dr. Woodman says the gastric balloon is a great alternative for those who only want to lose 50-100 pounds.

“Where we see the balloon, is offering it as a procedure for those lower weight patients who don’t quite meet the criteria for surgery, and hopefully those populations won’t cross over,” said Dr. Woodman.

For more about bariatric surgery options, click-on the following informative links before deciding on any procedure for weight loss:

Two Weight Loss Surgery Procedures Measure Up after 3 Years

New Weight Loss Device Approved by FDA Could Be an Alternative to Typical Bariatric Surgery

Obesity Weight Loss: Duodenal Switch Beats Gastric Bypass

Lesser Used Surgical Method Actually Results in More Weight Loss


WREG Channel 3 News in Memphis― “New weight loss procedure tested in Memphis is close to FDA approval

Midsouth Bariatrics



Dr. Wang what do you think about this program?
Is the Gastric Balloon available in the Memphis area yet?
I would like this procedure done..what program in memphis..
I need this surgery. I am kidney transplant patient. I have very poor balance an coordination problems, and I have a hard time walking a straight path. I am currently in my second course of PT, but am seeing no improvements. I am on year 8 with my new kidney. I would like to see if my insurance would help cover this procedure for me, but I doubt it. I am an lifetime SDI, and am married with one son.
Hi... I am only 50 pounds overweight however I've tried everything and can't seem to lose it... I'm fifty-two and I've been recently diagnosed with chronic leukemia... High blood pressure... High cholesterol... If there's a surgery that could help me lose this weight but accepted by Medicaid that would be great too. Thanks for your time