Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Two Companies Have Received FDA Approval for Their Intragastric Balloons

Minimally invasive weight loss procedures that are much less invasive than laparoscopically performed bariatric surgery include endoscopic methods. In endoscopic methods, the procedures are performed using the mouth as an entry point. One example of an endoscopic procedure is the intragastric balloon. And recently, two companies received FDA approval for their intragastric balloons.

One of the companies is San Clemente, California based ReShape Medical, Inc. And the other company is Austin, Texas based Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. Indeed, intragastric balloon usage has led to good weight loss results. In one study, the balloon produced safe and respectable average weight loss of 42.7697 pounds "without intensive lifestyle" intervention in 85% of 672 patients. The study's investigators did indicate that there were complications in about 6% of the patients. And 53 patients asked that the balloon be removed. But the balloon showed promise. And, apparently, results like those in this study led to the FDA approval.

Bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss approach. But according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, less than 2% of those who qualify for bariatric surgery actually get the surgery. There are a number of likely reasons why eligible persons don't get the surgery.

Cost is probably a barrier to the surgery. And some eligible persons balk at the all but irreversibility of most surgical weight loss procedures. Also, eligible obese persons fear the possible complications of the more drastic forms of the surgery. However, the minimally invasive weight loss procedures, such as the intragastric balloon, are less invasive than the most common forms of bariatric surgery. And these minimally invasive procedures, including the intragastric balloon, may eventually prove to be safe and effective long term.

As more minimally invasive weight loss procedures, like the intragastric balloon, are developed, weight loss providers will have more weight loss options for their patients. And with the newly available obesity drugs, surgeons and obesity medicine specialists may introduce procedures that combine these minimally invasive procedures with pharmacotherapy. Perhaps, using devices like the intragastric balloon with pharmacotherapy can eventually be safe, and as effective as gastric bypass surgery.



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