New weight loss procedure seeks FDA approval

May 17, 2012

New weight loss procedure seeks FDA approval
New weight loss procedure seeks FDA approval

While many people turn to cosmetic surgery procedures such as liposuction, body contouring and breast reduction to improve their appearance, others seek surgeries that will help them shed unwanted pounds. A new procedure that's not approved in the U.S. is causing some Americans to cross borders, but some doctors question its efficacy and safety, according to the New York Times.

The intragastric balloon is a liquid-filled, balloon-like device that is inserted into the stomach via the esophagus for a short period of time (around six months) to aid in weight loss. This is a viable weight loss option for lighter individuals who may not be candidates for other forms of bariatric surgery. And, although the procedure is not performed in the U.S., it is popular in Canada, Europe and South America for those who need to lose less than 50 pounds. It may eventually become available stateside, as trials with the Food and Drug Administration are in their early states, the Times reports.

However, it seems for some Americans, the procedure can’t come soon enough. Some patients have opted to go north to have the procedure performed by Canadian doctors. American patients account for about a third of those seeking intragastric balloons in Canada.

"Studies of the balloon have reported weight loss ranging from 13 to 34 pounds on average, with some individuals losing up to 50 pounds," the newspaper reported. "Patients often gain weight again after the device is removed, though long-term studies are limited."

Individuals who lose weight due to an intragastric balloon need to make lifestyle changes to maintain the results. Changes in diet and exercise habits are crucial for those looking to lose weight and keep excess pounds off, according to the news outlet.

Much like medical tourism for plastic surgery, getting surgery abroad makes follow-up checkups difficult if not impossible. Being close to your surgeon and making regular visits is crucial to the success of a surgery as well as preventing any dangerous complications.

The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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