MIAMI, Fla. (KFSN) --Now, a new procedure to help people who are moderately over weight is readily available. The FDA approved the gastric balloon late last summer. One patient and doctor share their story.
No matter what she tried, Doris Carril could not drop the extra pounds she gained as she aged.
"Eating every three hours, exercising, liquid diets, anything," she told Ivanhoe.
Now, thanks to the new gastric balloon procedure, her doctor gave Doris new hope without ever lifting a scalpel.
Doris smiled and said, "I am very very happy. I lost 40 pounds."
Nestor De La Cruz-Muñoz, MD, bariatric specialist at the University of Miami Health System said, "We place the balloon through an endoscopic procedure which means placing a small tube and camera through the mouth and into the stomach."
The balloon inflates with a saline solution so the stomach has less volume, and it stays for six months.
"The balloon procedure works by helping patients feel more full when they eat a smaller meal," De La Cruz-Muñoz told Ivanhoe.
Nutritional counselors meet with the gastric balloon patients to make sure they are changing their eating habits and lifestyle to keep the extra pounds from returning.
"This tool fills the gap of about 46 million patients that didn't qualify for bariatric surgery and were large enough so that diet and exercise alone weren't helping," De La Cruz-Muñoz said.
But Doris admits the whole experience was not without some discomfort.
She said, "The first five days were bad. I was nauseous."
A small price to pay, Doris says, for a big drop in weight.
"I'm telling you, this is the best thing that ever happened to me," she explained.
The program doesn't end at the surgery suite. The program requires patients to meet with a nutritionist for a year after the procedure. Insurance does not cover the procedure, and it costs approximately $7,500.