20 May, 2024

Who Is A Candidate For Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedures?

If you have ever asked yourself, “Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?” then you are probably suffering from obesity, and you are not alone. This disease is currently considered a pandemic due to its wide-reaching impact throughout the world.

Most individuals who struggle with obesity have medical conditions that result from their excess weight, and weight loss would significantly improve their health. Making the decision to lose weight and become healthier is only one of the huge hurdles they must clear. Next, they have to find a weight loss solution that will be effective for their circumstances.

Today, we are going to discuss the struggles many face when trying to get help with weight loss. We will look at options for the individual who desires to lose weight and who is a candidate for weight loss surgery vs. an endoscopic weight loss procedure.

What Does BMI Have To Do With Being A Good Candidate For Weight Loss Surgery?

To be a suitable candidate for weight loss surgery, your BMI (body mass index) must fall within a certain numeric range. Your BMI number is calculated using your height and weight and is universally recognized by healthcare workers, insurance carriers, and other medical professionals. This system was created in the late 1800s as a quick way to categorize individuals by their level of health or risk for health issues. While the BMI scale is not a perfect way to calculate an individual’s level of body fat, it is fast and easy, and for lack of anything comparable, it is still used today.

This BMI number is used by medical professionals to determine if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery. The standard BMI chart places individuals into the following categories:

World Health Organization Standard BMI Chart
Category BMI Number
Underweight Under 18.5
Healthy weight 18.5-24.9
Overweight 25-29.9
Moderately obese or Class 1 obesity 30-34.9
Severely obese or Class II obesity 35-39.9
Classified as Morbidly obese or Class III 40 or higher

As you can see from the chart, once an individual reaches a BMI of 30, they are considered to have obesity. It may surprise you, but in order to be a candidate for weight loss surgery, your BMI has to be at least 35, and you have to be suffering from at least one weight-related disease or have a BMI of at least 40.

Many people find themselves in the predicament of having a diagnosis of obesity and desire to get help before their situation becomes worse, but they don’t meet the BMI qualifications to be a good candidate for weight loss surgery.

Their weight, BMI, and health would have to get worse before they would qualify for bariatric surgery, and then they would have a significantly greater amount of weight to lose. That does not sound like the best plan for anyone. There is good news for these individuals and maybe a better solution than surgery for some.

BMI chart

Who Is A Candidate For Endoscopic Weight Loss?

Individuals who require medical intervention to help them stop weight gain and promote weight loss can benefit from an endoscopic weight loss procedure. Usually, to qualify for these non-surgical procedures, candidates would have a starting BMI of around 27.

If you struggle with excess weight and do not wish to have surgery or are unable to undergo surgery due to health issues, you might be a good candidate for a weight loss balloon or endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. These weight loss procedures do not involve surgery, and although there are requirements to undergo them, they are not as challenging to meet.

Patients who do not meet the requirements of weight loss surgery, do not wish to have surgery, or whose health would be jeopardized by surgery may be eligible for an endoscopic weight loss procedure. In fact, sometimes patients use an intragastric balloon or ESG to lose an initial number of pounds so they can have some type of necessary surgery with lower risks.

What to Expect from Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedure?

First, let’s talk about what is not involved in an endoscopic procedure.

How Does Endoscopic Bariatric Procedure Differ from Bariatric Surgery?

An endoscopic procedure does not involve the following:

  • Incisions;
  • A hospital stay;
  • Several hours under anesthesia;
  • A long recovery;
  • A long list of risks or complications.

How Is an Endobariatric Procedure Done?

Endoscopic procedures are done using a special medical tool called an endoscope. This tool resembles a hollow hose which is very flexible and has a camera and a light attached to one end. Endoscopic procedures are done with the patient under sedation. The endoscope is designed to be lowered through a patient’s mouth, down their throat, and into their esophagus until it reaches their stomach. The entire procedure is done from the inside, so there is no need for abdominal incisions.

When the doctor is performing the procedure, they can visualize exactly what they are doing thanks to the tiny endoscopic camera that streams real-time video to a screen located nearby. The hollow portion of the endoscope allows other thin medical tools to also be lowered down to the stomach to be used during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed, the endoscope is carefully removed. After a short observation period, the patient is discharged to recover comfortably at home.

Benefits of Endoscopic Procedures

  • Safe and effective;
  • Long-term weight loss results;
  • Significantly fewer occurrences of GERD vs. gastric sleeve surgery;
  • More favorable safety profile than bariatric surgery;
  • Requires no hospital stay;
  • The patient can return to normal activities much sooner than after surgery;
  • Procedure time is faster than surgical procedures;
  • Significant weight loss;
  • Improvements in weight-related medical conditions.

What Endoscopic Procedures Help With Weight Loss?

Weight Loss Balloon

An intragastric balloon is a temporary medical device that is placed into a patient’s stomach to take up a substantial amount of space. This limits the amount of food the patient can eat during one meal and helps them feel full for a longer time.

A deflated medical balloon that has a thin catheter attached is lowered down the endoscope, and once reaching the proper location in the stomach, it is filled through the catheter with sterile saline. Once the balloon is about 5” in diameter, the endoscope is removed. The balloon stays in the patient’s stomach for six months and is then removed. The placement and removal procedures only take about 20 minutes.

During the balloon residency, the patient makes changes to their lifestyle that will promote better health and weight loss. They work closely with their doctor and a team of professionals to learn how to make educated food choices, incorporate exercise into their daily lives, and come to terms with what caused their poor health so they can make different choices going forward. Most patients recover from the balloon insertion in about 3 days.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

During the ESG procedure, a special suturing device and other thin medical tools are lowered down an endoscope to reach the patient’s stomach. The doctor carefully reshapes the stomach into a small, vertical tube-like shape that is significantly smaller than originally (about 25% of its original size). Then several sutures are put into place to hold this shape. The doctor removes the thin tools and the endoscope, and the patient is taken to a room for recovery and observation before being discharged to go home. There are no activity restrictions after ESG, and most patients are back to their normal routine within the week.

After ESG, the patient’s stomach is much smaller, forcing them to eat much smaller portions at each meal. Their smaller stomach takes longer to empty, so they stay satisfied for a longer time, which helps them lose weight and reduce snacking or emotional eating habits.

Endoscopic Procedures Are Not Suitable For Everyone

You will not be a good candidate for an endoscopic procedure if you are pregnant, nursing, or plan to become pregnant soon, have a hernia, an ulcer, or have experienced gastrointestinal bleeding in the past. If you have had other stomach surgery, you may not be a good candidate; however, the doctor will evaluate each case thoroughly to determine eligibility.

Where Can I Find Endoscopic Weight Loss In Washington, DC?

Contact the experts at Gut Theory Total Digestive Care to learn more about losing weight with a gastric balloon or the ESG procedure. We would love the opportunity to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the gastric balloon and ESG and find out if you would be a suitable candidate for an endoscopic procedure.

When you make permanent changes to your diet and behaviors after having an endoscopic procedure, you can lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. Make your appointment today to learn more about how to become healthier.

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