7 Alternatives to Bariatric Surgery
Considering bariatric surgery? Or reconsidering it now that you've done a bit
It's not an easy decision, and it's not for everyone. It can be quite costly,
and many people can't afford it, while others simply do not meet the surgical
requirements. Maybe your BMI is not high enough. The side effects - both
long-term and short-term - can also be off-putting. Some types of bariatric
surgery cause extremely rapid weight loss that can damage your liver.
In recent years, the increased wait times for bariatric surgery is another
issue that may have you looking for alternatives. Then of course, for some,
there's the concern they might gain all the weight back and have gone through
all of it for nothing - and they've witnessed people they know who have done
exactly that. Some people, of course, are simply (and understandably) afraid
to go under the knife.
There are new endoscopic bariatric and metabolic therapies (EBMTs) on the
market now - performed using a small, flexible scope inserted through your
mouth and esophagus down into your stomach. These EBMTs are same-day
outpatient procedures and can reduce stomach volume - like traditional
bariatric surgeries can do - but they are much less invasive with no incisions
and fewer complications.
The procedures range from intragastric balloon therapy to endoscopic sleeve
gastroplasty. There's also a procedure called AspireAssist where a tube device
is inserted into a patient's stomach to aspirate (or drain) stomach contents
after a meal. All of these new options in the emerging field of bariatric
endoscopy hold promise, but there are still issues of serious concern with
Because insurance providers don't usually cover these options, bariatric
endoscopy presents many of the same financial barriers as bariatric surgery,
and will have some of the same nutritional and psychological issues, as well
as potential short- and long-term side effects.
So what are the alternatives that don't carry those issues, dangers and side
effects with them?
Let's run through the gamut of what's out there.
Comprehensive Medical Weight Loss Evaluation - Some people
suddenly gain weight after a change in medication and never realize that
they are prescribed medications that actually cause weight gain. Thyroid
conditions are often linked to changes in weight. Other patients may move
less because they have a knee condition. Hormonal issues can trigger weight
gain, as can sleep irregularities. Stress is notoriously connected with
weight increase. A full
medical weight loss evaluation can
isolate real reasons why you may be experiencing problems with your weight -
and then help you address those medical issues.
Nutritional Supplementation - Nutritional deficiencies can
not only throw your normal hunger levels out of whack, but they can upend
metabolic processes and stop your body from functioning as it should. From
IV infusions to specific
nutritional supplements, it's important to
support your body's nutritional needs to optimize any weight loss plan.
Weight Loss Medications - This is an emerging field that
has really gained traction in recent years. Unlike the snake oils and
quackery rife in the “diet pills” industry of the past, there are
weight-loss drugs that can
truly be effective and safe under medical supervision.
Behavior Modification - Your relationship with food and
your body image issues can have psychological or emotional roots. There are
so many factors that can influence your relationship with food - from
extreme trauma to simple bad habits. You might simply have developed a
routine of eating while watching TV late at night. Breaking that pleasure
connection and eating more mindfully without the distraction of TV can have
a tremendous impact on the amount of food you consume.
Uncovering the root causes of unhealthy eating
can be one more key to unlocking weight loss.
Healthy Eating - This is not your grandmother's grapefruit
diet. Emerging science is ever changing our understanding of how our body
reacts to certain foods and which food choices can actually lead to
substantial, sustainable weight loss. Expertise in the latest research,
however, is key to creating a plan that will work. Also, learning to cook
healthy menus that actually taste good and stimulate pleasure centers in the
brain is an important part of transitioning to a new way of eating.
Fitness - Muscle mass is one of the best predictors of
aging well, and muscle not only helps you lose weight, but it helps you
sustain that weight loss - but from weight training to pilates, aerobics or
HIIT, not all exercise regimens are right for you. Finding a fitness plan
that works for your body and your lifestyle is key. Again, recent research
on exercise, fitness and weight loss can inform your choices today and lead
to greater success in your future fitness regimens.
Fasting - Fasting may be an ancient religious practice, but
it can also be a powerful weight loss tool. Intermittent fasting, for
example, is all the rage and considered a cutting-edge weight loss technique
- even though fasting has been around forever. Any fasting regimen, however,
should not be undertaken without medical consultation and ongoing clinical
supervision and in some cases regular lab testing.
The bottom line is that there are a variety of alternatives that may lead to
permanent weight loss via methods that are not as extreme as bariatric surgery
- but can be just as effective and safer in the long run.
We can offer medical evaluation and supervision for your weight loss journey,
and we can help you sort through the alternatives to find the weight loss
methods that help you achieve sustainable behavioral and lifestyle changes.
Many insurance companies recognize the efficacy of programs like ours and will
cover the cost.
Contact us for a FREE consultation! Our highly
trained medical team is dedicated to offering personal, customized, and safe,
medically supervised solutions that can change your life - forever.