Friday, July 15, 2011

In-Between Weight Loss Approaches

Bariatric surgery is often viewed as a more effective form of weight loss treatment than non-surgical methods. Non-surgical treatment methods include drugs and lifestyle modification. However, some researchers are working on treatment options that fit somewhere between bariatric surgery and other obesity treatments such as obesity drugs, diet, exercise and behavior modification.

One such device is the gastric balloon. This device is inserted into the stomach through the mouth, and then filled with a liquid or air. Once the gastric balloon is filled, an individual’s stomach feels full with less food. A more complex version of the gastric balloon is in research at ReShape Medical, Inc.

ReShape Medical is a medical device manufacturer headquartered in San Clemente, California. The company develops non-surgical weight loss devices. One of its devices is a dual gastric balloon apparatus. Since the device is inserted via the mouth, no surgery is required. Thus, dual-balloon implementation appeals to those patients who want to avoid bariatric surgery and the side effects sometimes experienced with the use of weight loss drugs.

Another non-surgical device for weight loss treatment is the Endobarrier. Created by Lexington, MA based GI Dynamics, the Endobarrier is a liner for part of the small intestine. Like the gastric balloon, the Endobarrier is inserted via the mouth into a portion of the small intestine. The device is designed to create a barrier between the food one eats and the intestinal walls. After insertion, food digestion is delayed in a fashion similar to gastric bypass surgery. According to GI Dynamics, the device provided “significant weight loss and diabetes improvement … when combined with certain diet and lifestyle modifications.”

Finally, Endosphere, based in Columbus, OH, has produced an endoscopically delivered weight loss device that is designed to slow the movement of food though one part of the small intestine. The company believes that slowing down the food will cause satiety signals to be sent out, thus reducing a person’s food intake.

If any one of these devices proves successful, the weight loss options for medical weight providers and their patients will be enhanced.

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