“Normally, we see enhancements in sufferers’ well being and comorbidities reminiscent of diabetes, excessive ldl cholesterol, and sleep apnea with as little as 5 % further physique weight reduction (EBW),” says Stefanie Vaimakis, medical director of bariatric surgical procedure at Holy Identify Medical Middle and Palisades Medical Middle in New Jersey. “Obalon exceeds these statistics by far, and extra importantly together with a complete program of weight-reduction plan and train, sufferers can study to alter their consuming habits and reside a more healthy life-style even after the balloons are eliminated.”
So, about Obalon itself: Based on the producer, the process “helps facilitate weight reduction by taking over area in your abdomen so that you eat much less,” and it takes up that area with three inflexible, orange-sized balloons. As a result of one thing that giant cannot be swallowed, the balloons should be swallowed in capsule type on three separate events; I swallowed one in January, one in February, and one in March.
Though the capsules are smaller than the balloons smushed up inside them, they’re nothing to sneeze at. Simply the most important “capsule” you will ever try and swallow, they’re additionally connected to a skinny catheter, which is linked to the gadget that your physician makes use of to inflate the balloon with a nitrogen sulfur-hexafluoride combination as soon as it has landed in your abdomen. It’s kind of of a mindfuck, actually. As my physician, Marina Kurian, gave me heat water to assist get the primary capsule down, I did a literal spit take proper in her face. “I’ve realized to face to the facet of the affected person. Thanks for that,” she just lately informed me upon recalling my involuntary response — an academic second for each of us.
The second and third swallowing periods went extra easily for me, and I used to be left, as deliberate, with three balloons freely floating round in my abdomen. With every balloon placement, I’d lose some weight just about effortlessly, just because I bodily could not eat as a lot as I did earlier than there have been balloons taking over area in my abdomen. Whereas I may as soon as simply down a whole Chipotle burrito bowl, for instance, I used to be capable of eat possibly half of 1, due to my gaseous new tenants.
If it nonetheless sounds slightly bizarre, I get it — it completely is. And averaging round $7,500, it isn’t low cost both. However to medical professionals, Obalon presents a inventive and efficient new choice for people who find themselves obese however do not meet the factors for surgical procedure. “Obalon sounded very fascinating to me from the get-go,” says Kurian, who’s a bariatric surgeon in New York Metropolis. (In actual fact, she’s the physician who carried out Al Roker’s gastric bypass surgical procedure.) “I’m very conversant in surgical and fewer invasive strategies for weight reduction. Swallowing the balloon is the novel side and has positively modified the intragastric balloon scene.” Who even knew there’s an intragastric balloon scene?
To my shock, I did not actually discover any unusual sensations throughout my first two months with two balloons. I think about that is partly as a result of the truth that anybody who’s present process the Obalon system should take acid-blocking treatment like Prilosec on daily basis over the course of the remedy. “An intragastric balloon is principally a overseas physique hanging out in your abdomen,” Kurian tells me. “To guard the abdomen, an anti-acid capsule is required on daily basis when you have the balloons in. This helps forestall ulcers or gastritis, which might make you’re feeling unwell or have ache.” Though it nearly by no means occurs, there’s additionally a threat of the balloons deflating and migrating into the intestines, which is why sufferers are informed to keep away from skydiving and scuba diving throughout remedy. (That wasn’t an issue for me.)