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Weight loss without dieting or surgery

September 22, 2008

We just finished our affiliates conference at The Plastic Surgery Clinic and Surgical Weight Loss Centre. Our affiliates are a national network of nurses and doctors who help us take care of patients across from the country who have had lapband surgery at our clinic. These dedicated health care professionals provide local support and lapband fills close to home for our patients who live a long way from the clinic.

The affiliate program is unique in Canadian healthcare. I’m not aware of a similar or more comprehensive program in any specialty that so completely reaches across the country in providing care to patients. Our affiliates have been trained at the clinic or by Dr. Cobourn travelling across the country to provide support and fills to lapband patients. In this way our patients have access to trained local health care providers near to where they live. This was our first affiliates conference and we flew our affiliates to Mississauga for a weekend of advanced training and seminars. The affiliates had breakfast with us at the clinic on Saturday morning and then we had a full day of seminars, instructional courses and discussion. One of the most interesting new innovations presented was a new program we are instituting at the clinic called the Intragastric Balloon for weight loss.

The Intragastric Balloon is new to North America but has been used in Europe and South America for many years. The Intragastric Balloon is a device used to help patients lose weight. This is not an operation. It is a simple procedure performed under local anesthetic. A gastroscopy, which is a common medical procedure, is performed with a small amount of light sedation and freezing at the back of the throat. A small deflated balloon is then placed in the stomach and then inflated with salt water. The scope is then removed and the patient spends a short time in the recovery room and then goes home. The balloon gives the patient a sense of fullness and makes it hard to over eat. A small meal makes you feel full and so the patient loses weight. This is not a diet and it is not an operation. Weight is lost naturally and reliably by decreasing the amount of food eaten. Patients lose 25-50 pounds over a 6 month period after which the balloon is removed. Most patients do not regain their lost weight.

We have found that the Intragastric Balloon is best for people who were once a normal weight but for some reason gained weight, usually due to an important life event like childbearing. The typical patient is one who is considering liposuction or tummy tuck but needs to lose weight first. The perfect liposuction or tummy tuck patient is already at or close to their ideal body weight but has small problem areas that they need to fix. However if the problem is more weight related, generalized across a larger area of the body or the patient needs to lose 25-50 pounds, then intragastric balloon is probably a better treatment option. No special diet and not surgery.

Our clinic has the largest experience using this device in North America. When a patient comes for consultation with one of our surgeons we’ll be able to offer the operation that’s right for their particular needs. For some patients it will be liposuction, for others tummy tuck and yet for others the intragastric balloon. A customized treatment for the individual patient based on a consultation with their surgeon. Nothing could be better.

Frank Lista MD