Weight Loss Surgery - interesting article on obesity surgeries

01-03-2006, 04:03 PM
take a look - what do you think?


i was interested in the statement about the 'gentler' approach of the balloon procedure in europe. i read another news item yesterday (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/16/news/fat.php) about this, and a couple of key points hit me. namely, it's covered by insurance in europe [at least in italy, the focus of the article], and it's offered to people who have less than 100 pounds to lose - the people in the article had anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds to lose.

this suggests that europeans focus more on earlier intervention that we do in the US.

there are also issues of patient motivation. i can't tell you how many times i've sat in support group meetings and heard people say that they expected the surgery to take care of the problem without them actually DOING much in terms of watching what htey ate and exercising.

so, the debate and the discussion continue.

it's my hope that these less-invasive surgeries will be covered. we need all the alternatives we can get!!!!

01-03-2006, 05:59 PM
Both of these articles are very good. I am now going to do some more research on the lapband. I know my INS will pay for the bypass, so I will see what they say about the lapband. I think the band is what I'd rather do.

01-03-2006, 06:21 PM
Hiya Goils,

Interesting articles Jif. This is the first I've read about the balloon - what an interesting concept. I'm surprised that it can only be left in for six months though. I wonder if you have to be under general anesthetic for it to be inserted. It seems to me there would be a few risks there.

It makes me happy to read positive articles about banding. So often you read posts by people who claim it doesn't work as well as the bypass because they heard it from their neighbor's ex-husband's second-cousin or something like that! As everyone who has researched their surgery knows, different strokes for different folks. What works for some, may not work for others, but as Jiffy said above, it's all about how much you're willing to work the tool, no matter what surgery you choose.

Deborah, my insurance (United Healthcare) approved my banding very easily. There were no hoops to jump through or anything, (which is good, because at my previous weight, jumping was really hard on my knees!)


01-03-2006, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the articles Jiffy. That balloon surgery looks interesting. And I'm glad that people are exploring all of their options.

One thing that really irritated me though was the offhanded way the msnbc article discussed pregnancy and weight loss surgery. They say that bands "appear to be safer" than the gastric by-pass for pregnancy. And yet, they offer no comparitive studies on this issue between those who have had the band proceedure and those who had the gastric by-pass. They only offer one anecdotal story on how a Mass. woman and her baby died 18 months after gastric bypass surgery. The media is so freakin' lazy these days. I guess that is a rant for another forum though.

For more info on pregnancy and gastric by-pass; here is another article:

indigo child
01-03-2006, 07:54 PM
Initially, I thought banding might be the way to go for me, but my insurance company made the dilemna very simple: they wouldn't cover it.

I agree though, that all of these options are tools and aren't worth a fiddler's excrement without the cooperation and compliance of the client.

01-03-2006, 10:42 PM
This is the first I've read about the balloon...I'm surprised that it can only be left in for six months though. I wonder if you have to be under general anesthetic for it to be inserted.


I found some other articles, but its pretty much like I thought it would be. I have a feeding tube due to the severe gastroparesis (chronic nausea & vomiting- the tube actually bypasses my stomach and delivers the formula & meds to the second part of small intestine) so I have a small saline fill silicone balloon in my stomach that holds the feeding tube from falling out. Because of the acidic environment of the stomach, the balloon only last so long- from personal experience I know when I've went longer then 6 months between new feeding tubes that its harder to remove as the balloon won't fully deflate...big object through small hole is never a good idea (just had it replaced today....why did I let it go 7 months?!?). The WL balloon is put in via an GI endoscopy, so no incisions are made or anything. It would be like a normal upper GI endoscopy, with conscious sedation (that magic medicine that doesn't knock you completely out but erases the whole procedure from your memory...wish my dentist could use it every time I go ;)), so there would be very little risk and little to no pain. Recovery would be pretty much non-existent- I went shopping for tennis shoes after my first upper GI endoscopy

I wonder if the WL balloon is some how tacked in place? If it deflated and passed into the small intestine, it could cause a major blockage- that could result in severe damage, major surgery & at the most extreme, even death. And even though the balloon is suppose to have a leak proof valve, they can be defective. My first feeding tube was and I ended up having to have another one put in 3 days later (can we say ouch- the incision/tract was so fresh & raw, plus I was so sick from being malnourished from not eating for over 2 weeks...and to add insult to injury, my insurance had to pay for the second placement- the manufacture only covered the actual feeding tube, not the doctors fees & all that). The other thing is none of the article mentioned how the balloon is removed....I'm assuming it would be another upper GI endoscope, but is that included in the estimated cost or is that additional? What are the result long term? We know from experience that just about anyone can lose some weight- but can they keep it off? Or do they keep getting new balloons?:balloons:...guess we need to budget for Botox & balloons now :rofl:

Here are some links to articles I found on Google:
CBC article- (http://www.cbc.ca/story/science/national/2005/11/22/stomach-balloon051122.html)cost about $4000CA
CTV article (http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20051216/stomach_balloon_051216/20051218?hub=Health) with picture of balloon
Globe article- (http://www.theglobeandmail.ca/servlet/story/RTGAM.20051229.wxhballoon29/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/)covers risk (nausea & vomiting, stomach perforation)
Evening Mancester News article (http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/men/news/health/comments/view.html?story_id=181866)- includes short patient perspective and even mention using in children (not sure about that idea:?:...)
CUHK Press Release (http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/ipro/pressrelease/050811%281%29e.htm)- interesting on who they consider as good candidates: 1) Patients with morbid obesity (BMI >50) as a pre-surgical treatment to minimize surgical risks I could see that as a very good use, especially considering the procedure is fairly low risk (no general anesthesia) and could really help someone get down to a low enough
weight were invasive WLS wouldn't be as risky- or even possible in some cases.

2) Patients with BMI >37 who are not suitable or reluctant for obesity surgery

3) Patients with BMI >30 with repetitive failure of previous weight reduction therapies and are not recommended for obesity surgery 

4) Patients with BMI <30 with obesity-related diseases with repetitive failure of previous weight reduction therapies.
I do hope that it does prove to be successful and is one day available in the US. With it being available in Canada, I can see people going there like they did for Lasik eye surgery before it was approved in the US. The cost is low enough and the risk isn't that high- it is relatively non-invasive, as compared to other WLS procedures. I do worry that it is almost too easy for any doctor to do- all they need is an endoscope and a good marketer...and well, we know where that will take us...and what it will do for WLS in general.

01-04-2006, 12:00 AM
by the way, when i started exploring wls, i really wanted the lapband, for a variety of reasons. but i was way too overweight and way too sick from the weight to take the longer time to weight loss that the lap band needed. there were very real fears that i'd die before i lost enough weight with the lap band. sooooo, there are MANY things to consider.

and frankly, it's my fervent wish that NO ONE ends up in the condition i was. that's one of the reasons i'm so interested in the European studies - they really do seem to offer these choices sooner than in the US.