Two minimally invasive weight loss options give Erlanger patients new hope

Weight loss surgeries, like gastric bypass, have been a treatment option since the 1980s, but not everyone is comfortable with — or eligible for — these procedures. For them, Erlanger offers two, revolutionary new options.

The Erlanger Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Center now offers vBloc and Orbera, two new FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedures proven effective for weight-loss.

vBloc is a pacemaker-like device created by Maestro® System that became available in the U.S. in January of 2015. Unlike many bariatric surgeries, vBloc does not alter the stomach or intestines. Instead, vBloc is a minimally invasive and easily reversible out-patient procedure.

With vBloc, a small device is implanted just under the skin which transmits signals to the vagus nerve — the nerve that tells your brain when your stomach is full — thereby helping a person eat less and feel full longer. The device remains in place to help maintain weight loss, but it is completely reversible and can be removed at any time. A small battery within the device is charged wirelessly to keep it going and should last several years before needing to be replaced. There is also future potential for vBloc to be used in conjunction with weight loss surgeries to help patients achieve greater results.

Like vBloc, the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System is new to the U.S. market as of August 2015 and does not alter the stomach or intestines to help patients achieve weight loss. Instead, Orbera patients are placed under mild sedation while a small balloon is placed in the stomach using an endoscopic procedure. The spherical balloon is then filled with about 20 ounces of salt water (saline). For six months, the balloon remains in place to help patients feel fuller from smaller amounts of food.

While the balloon is in place, patients must be willing to start on a medically supervised weight-loss program. The program not only involves regular physician and nurse checkups, but it also involves frequent chats with a dietician, psychologist, and fitness coach. These support experts help establish long-term, sustainable, healthy habits. Once the balloon has been removed, the support visits continue for an additional six months or longer to help ensure success.

Regardless of the option patients choose, the most important thing for anyone considering a bariatric procedure is to understand that the procedure is a tool to aid in weight loss. Patients must be actively focused on their weight loss goals for these procedures to succeed.

In addition to individualized recommendations, Dr. Sanborn encourages the following lifestyle changes for his bariatric patients:

  • Source fresh, natural foods
  • Avoid high-calorie liquids
  • Increase protein consumption to protect lean muscle
  • Decrease carbohydrate consumption

If you would like to contact us or make an appointment with a bariatric specialist, please call 423-778-2564.