FDA Approves New Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedure

By Aparna Zalani | CBS 11 Special Project's Producer

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Meagan Johnson nervously walks into Dr. Adam Smith’s office. A mother of two young kids, Johnson had tried hard to lose the baby weight. But, with work and kids, it has proven harder than she thought.

But her health is important to her. “I have two children, they’re young. I want to keep up with them,” she said.

Johnson didn’t want to go under the knife for gastric bypass or a lap band surgery. Thus, to kick start her weight loss, she decided to undergo a recently FDA-approved procedure that uses balloons.

“When I don’t have this extra weight on me I feel like I can conquer the world,” she said.

The Obalon Balloon is just that, a balloon that sits in the stomach and makes people feel full. Dr. Adam Smith at Ultimate Bariatrics is one of the few in North Texas that offers this procedure.

CBS 11 cameras were there when Johnson swallowed the first of three balloons with the help of some applesauce.

The balloon is in a capsule, a little bigger than a vitamin pill. Once swallowed and in her stomach, doctors filled the balloon with gas through a bendable tube.

Eventually during the course of six months, three balloons will occupy the space in her stomach. The idea is to help suppress Johnson’s appetite.

“They feel full with eating a smaller portion meal,” Dr. Smith told CBS 11 news. He also says the success requires a commitment from patients to eat well and exercise. “It’s not a magic wand,” he cautions.

Doctors eventually remove all three balloons six months later. But during the year long program- a team works with patients to create a diet and exercise plan. People who took part in clinical trial lost an average of 15 pounds. Some have seen bigger results.

The procedure is not covered by insurance. it costs about $6500- $7000 for placement, removal and nutritional counseling.

Some patients have experienced abdominal pain and nausea. The treatment isn’t an option for patients who are morbidly obese or those who have had previous weight loss surgery.

Candidates should have a BMI of 30 to 40. For example, woman who is 5’5, weighing between 180 and 240 pounds would be a good candidate

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