Endoscopic Procedures for the Treatment of Obesity

Endoscopic procedures are performed by advancing narrow, flexible instruments through the mouth and into the stomach. In addition to the precise instruments used to place stitches or make incisions, endoscopic instruments include a tiny video camera for visualization and magnification.

People often want to know how to lose weight fast. In the last few years, several new endoscopic approaches for the treatment of obesity have been approved, and these offer important options for patients who want help in losing weight and keeping it off. Endoscopic procedures may be considered a middle ground between medications and surgery because they achieve better weight loss than medications alone, and without the side effects seen with medications, but they are less invasive than surgical options. Compared to surgical procedures, endoscopic procedures offer an easier recovery, less discomfort, no abdominal scars, and faster return to normal daily activities. Many endoscopic treatments (such as the intragastric balloon) are reversible. Endoscopic options are also available to some people with lower BMI who would not otherwise qualify for bariatric surgery, but who need help losing weight. As a result, these approaches allow our program to offer solutions to help a much greater number of people struggling with obesity.

As with surgery, medications, or quite simply any approach or strategy aiming to treat obesity, endoscopic approaches are NOT meant to replace a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle. These are fundamentals of living a healthy life and maintaining a healthy weight in the long run. However, we recognize that it can be difficult to get started. Reversible endoscopic approaches (such as the intragastric balloon) may serve as a catalyst to help you with your initial weight loss and help make it easier for you to continue forward with a healthier way of life.

The Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery is actively involved in developing and refining endoscopic approaches and in bringing them to clinical use. We are committed to offering and discussing these therapeutic options with patients as they become available.

Intragastric Balloon

Intragastric balloon procedures entail inserting a narrow tube through the mouth and into the stomach. A tiny instrument that carries a balloon device is placed through the tube. Once in the stomach, this balloon is delivered and then inflated with about 24-36 ounces of fluid. By taking up space in the stomach, the balloon helps to decrease your appetite, which leads patients to eat less frequently and to eat smaller portions. The Orbera™ Balloon and ReShape Duo Balloon are the first intragastric balloons that have been FDA approved for placement in the US. Follow this link for more information on the intragastric balloon.

Endoscopic Suturing

Endoscopic suturing is a procedure in which a narrow tube with a video camera is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach. Once in position, tiny instruments inserted through the tube are used to suture the stomach from within (there are no external incisions) in order to make it smaller. Advantages of endoscopic suturing include:

  • Reducing the size of the stomach leads to an earlier feeling of fullness
  • Patients on average lose 30% of excess weight
  • No external incisions
  • No need for medications, although medications can be used if appropriate

Investigational Devices

Several other balloon and other weight loss devices are under investigation and are expected to be approved in the next few years. These devices include:

  • A device that restricts food from entering the small intestine
  • A device that provides a barrier between food and the intestine and thereby improves blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes, and aids in weight loss
  • A device that helps patients to feel full by putting pressure on the wall of the stomach
  • A device that allows food to be emptied from the stomach before it can be absorbed

The goal of the Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery is to provide a comprehensive evaluation and individualized therapy for our patients. This starts with an initial discussion outlining current and anticipated medical therapies, endoscopic and surgical options. This initial evaluation is conducted by a multidisciplinary team that includes a Medical Nutritionist, Gastroenterologist and Surgeon.