One Pill at a Time

A progressive, noninvasive weight loss procedure helps mom lose post-pregnancy weight.

After delivering her second child six years ago, Sarah* admits she had a difficult time losing the weight she gained during pregnancy.A mom looks to lose 50 pounds through a noninvasive weight loss procedure offered at Manatee Weight Loss Center.

“I have two daughters,” Sarah shares. “After the first pregnancy, I was able to lose the weight pretty quickly, but the weight from the second pregnancy was much more difficult to take off. I tried every diet I could think of. I would lose ten pounds, then turn around and gain it back.

“As a wife and a mother, I was trying to do it all and carried a lot of stress. I think that affected my metabolism to a certain point. But, I was also making the wrong food choices. I ate a lot of sweets and unhealthy foods.”

At five feet three inches and 190 pounds, Sarah says she became desperate to make a change. She set a goal to lose around 50 pounds.

“I wanted to look and feel better about myself,” she says. “I am raising two girls, and I want them to see their mom healthy and active.”

Sarah says she talked with a friend who underwent gastric sleeve surgery, but she did not feel that was the best option for her.

“My husband wasn’t on board with that either,” Sarah shares. “So, we went online and did some research and read about the Obalon® Balloon System, and it sounded interesting to me because it did not require any kind of surgery. I started searching for doctors in our area who offered the procedure, and I found Manatee Weight Loss Center at Manatee Memorial Hospital.”

Are You Overweight?

For people like Sarah who haven’t found success with conventional forms of dieting, weight loss procedures to reduce stomach size are often a proven method for overcoming obesity.

The Obalon Balloon System is available at Manatee Memorial Hospital, performed by Stelios Rekkas, MD, FACS, a fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon. The procedure is ideal for patients who are overweight.

“The majority of weight loss procedures we offer here have traditionally been for people who are about one hundred pounds above their ideal body weight,” explains Dr. Rekkas. “Those surgeries involve general anesthesia and a brief stay in the hospital. This is the first outpatient, noninvasive procedure we offer that provides significant weight loss, between forty to sixty pounds.

“Sarah is our first patient to undergo the Obalon balloon procedure, which I think is a game changer when it comes to weight loss,” he continues. “She was an ideal candidate, as she was about fifty pounds above her ideal body weight. She just needed the right tool to help her find success.”

Obalon Balloon System

“With this new system, the patient swallows a pill containing a small balloon,” Dr. Rekkas explains. “We then take an x-ray to make sure it is in the right position, and then the balloon gets filled with a gas similar to nitrogen gas. Patients come back in three weeks and get a second balloon, and at nine weeks, they get a third balloon.

“Each balloon shrinks the space available in the stomach and as a result, they eat less. On average, weight loss is about three times what patients would normally lose on their own.

“The beautiful thing is there are no incisions, no general anesthesia, no scarring and the balloons are removed through endoscopy after six months,” concludes Dr. Rekkas. “With these balloons, patients eat a little bit of food and get full much faster.”

Sarah says she no longer craves sweets like she once did.

“I always wanted candy or dessert before, and now, I no longer want sugar. It’s really amazing the way your body reacts to it and how that in turn changes how you think and feel.”

“We are the first hospital in the state to offer the Obalon Balloon System,” shares Dr. Rekkas. “This is a revolutionary, new product, and we are proud to offer it at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Manatee Weight Loss Center.”

Dr. Rekkas emphasizes that the program is about more than a pill.

“I want to stress that what we do here is not just about a specific weight loss procedure,” he explains. “We educate every person about diet and exercise. It is an all-encompassing program. They each receive a customized plan, including diet and exercise. The balloons are the training wheels. It is a game-changing tool to help them get started. As long as they incorporate the diet and exercise long term, they will keep the weight off.”   

Look Good, Feel Great

Weight loss carries with it profound benefits for better health.

A mom looks to lose 50 pounds through a noninvasive weight loss procedure offered at Manatee Weight Loss Center.

Patients swallow three capsules each containing a small balloon, which are filled with a gas similar to nitrogen.

“We see really good improvements in sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Instead of just giving medications to lower blood pressure or control diabetes, a lot of these problems go away or improve markedly through weight loss,” says Dr. Rekkas. “We’ve seen patients get off their diabetic and hypertensive medications and sleep apnea machines. Also, great improvement is seen in patients with arthritis.”

Sarah says she has taken an important step toward achieving her weight loss goal of 50 pounds, and she feels confident she can keep the weight off. She has already noticed a slight change in how her clothes fit.

“I am on my way to a smaller size; I can feel it,” she says. “With the diet and proper exercise, I know I can maintain the weight loss. This has been a good decision, and I am really happy with Dr. Rekkas and all the staff at the center.

“This is changing my life!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Graphic courtesy of Obalon® Balloon System. Stock photos from istockphoto.com. mkb
*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
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    • Manatee Memorial Hospital

      When it comes to choosing a hospital, one thing is clear: quality counts. Manatee Memorial Hospital has a long tradition of providing medical care in a comfortable and convenient environment each year for thousands of patients... Read More

    • Stelios Rekkas, MD

      Stelios Rekkas, MD, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his graduate degree from Florida State University College of Medicine. Dr. Rekkas served his residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. He als... Read More