Up, Up and Away

Noninvasive balloon system helps mother lose post-pregnancy weight.

After delivering her second child six years ago, Cindy* had a difficult time losing the weight she gained during her pregnancy.

“I have two daughters, and after the first pregnancy, I was able to lose the weight pretty quickly,” Cindy shares. “But the weight from the second pregnancy didn’t come off anywhere near as easily.

“I tried every diet I could think of, and at best I would lose ten pounds, then turn around and gain it all back again. 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 190 pounds, the five-foot, three-inch Cindy 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.”

Cindy 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,” Cindy shares. “So, we went online and did some research and read about the Obalon® Balloon System. 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 such as Cindy who haven’t found success with conventional forms of dieting, weightloss procedures to reduce stomach size are often a proven method for overcoming obesity.

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

“The majority of the weightloss procedures we offer here are 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.

Cindy was our first patient to undergo the Obalon balloon procedure, which I think is a game changer when it comes to weight loss. 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

The Obalon Balloon System requires patients to swallow a pill containing a small balloon. An x-ray is then taken to make sure the balloon is in the right position. The balloon is then filled with a gas similar to nitrogen gas. After three weeks, patients return and get a second balloon and after nine weeks, they get a third balloon.

“Each balloon shrinks the space available in the stomach and as a result, the patient eats less,” Dr. Rekkas explains. “On average, patients lose about three times the weight they would normally lose on their own.

“One of the beautiful things about this system 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.

“We were 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.

“Each patient receives 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.

“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.”

Cindy says the Obalon Balloon System has allowed her to take an important step toward achieving her weight loss goal of 50 pounds and is confident she can keep the weight off, because she has already noticed a change in her eating habits.

“I used to always want candy or dessert before, but now, I no longer want sugar,” she says. “It’s really amazing how your body reacts to this system and how that in turn changes how you think and feel about yourself.”

“I am on my way to a smaller size; I can feel it. With this system 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!”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
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