New, implantable weight loss tool doesn’t involve surgery

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – New technology to help shed the pounds. The good news is, it doesn’t involve surgery.

It’s approved for patients who are 30 to 100 pounds overweight, those who typically are not able to undergo a bariatric or surgical procedure.

Orbera is the latest tool in the battle against the bulge. It’s a balloon, made of silicone.

“It inflates about the size of a grapefruit,” said Dr. Darren Tishler.

Filled with saline solution, Dr. Tishler explained, “This is going to sit in the stomach and move around the stomach.”

Dr. Tishler is the Medical Director of the Surgical Weight Loss Center at Hartford Hospital.

He said, “Orbera is really the first new implantable technology for weight loss that doesn’t involve any surgery.”

It is placed into the stomach from the mouth, where it is inflated so that patients feel more satisfied with less food.

“The biggest problem that people have trying to lose weight is that they feel hungry,” said Dr. Tishler, “If we can help control hunger and allow someone to fill full and satisfied after eating a very small reasonably sized meal, they are going to do much better.”

On average, expect to lose around 40 percent of the extra pounds.

He said, “Even 30 – 40 pounds of weight loss will help improve medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.”

But the balloon is only temporary, doctors remove it after six months.

“The balloon really helps with control of hunger but the rest of the program is what helps people change their lifestyle so that after the balloon is removed, they can keep the weight off in the long run.”

The program includes Registered Dietitian Katryna Minski, among the team of experts, keeping people on the right track.

“Once the balloon is removed, we hope that you’ve modified your lifestyle, that you’ve learned proper sized portions and that you’ve incorporated some sort of activity in your day to day routine.”

Smaller portions of a balanced diet of lean proteins, veggies, fruits and whole grain carbs are key.

“All foods can fit. Orbera isn’t going to stop you from eating certain foods but certain foods can make you feel more full.”

There is a small risk for complications, including nausea, vomiting, and the risk of the balloon deflating.

The cost is under $9,000. It is not yet covered by insurance.

There’s a free class offered November 24 at Blue Back Square in Hartford from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. To register, click here.