Over the past 20 years or so, there have been a huge number of interesting surgical development, many of which have focused on the treatment of obesity. The gastric bypass and the lap band are just two examples of this. In 2006, a directive was launched that ensured any surgery is performed by expert tools and properly qualified surgeons. Yet, despite this directive, weight loss surgeries continue to be very risky to patients.
Complication rates are falling significantly, now standing at around 10%, down from 12.2%. Additionally, mortality rates at 30 days have also dropped significantly to 0.20%, from 0.28%. However, considering just how many people have weight loss surgery, the actual number of people who have complications or, worst of all, die, remains much too high.
Thankfully, however, the Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the ReShape double balloon and this could mean that complication and mortality rates finally drop to near zero.
About the ReShape Balloon
The ReShape balloon has been created for those people whose current health standing is just above or just below the eligibility guidelines for a gastric bypass or lap band. For instance, someone’s BMI may be just below severely obese, or it may be so high that the patient is unable to be anesthetized. The balloon can also be used on those who are too young to have critical gastric surgery. This is important, as the young are becoming increasingly obese, but they are excluded from weight loss surgery.
The dual balloon is inserted down the throat of a patient, using a flexible tube. Once inside the stomach, it is filled with a saline solution. As soon as both balloons are filled, the tube is removed and patients will feel very full. This means that they won’t want, or be able, to eat as much as before, and this leads to weight loss.
After six months, or once the patient achieves their weight loss goals, whichever comes sooner, the balloon is deflated and is then removed from the stomach with an endoscopy. This means there is no need for any anesthetic or other surgical intervention at any point during the procedure.
The balloon has gone through numerous clinical trials across the country. The results showed it was both safe and effective, which led to approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
Does it Really Work?
It has been proven without a shadow of a doubt that the ReShape balloon could help millions of people who suffer from obesity. Be they young, not heavy enough, or too heavy, meaning that they cannot access conventional weight loss surgery, they can benefit from this balloon. Once they lose the weight, they will also see an improvement in their muscle and joint problems, a lower risk of heart disease, and more.
In 1984, a similar system was developed, but this did not have a backup membrane. This meant that the balloon, created by Garren-Edwards, would rupture and enter the small intestine. The ReShape is the first balloon to be available and approved since then.