Wyoming Medical Center first in state to… - Wyoming Medical Center

Wyoming Medical Center first in state to offer non-surgical Gastric Balloon Placement for weight loss

By Kristy Bleizeffer Oct 27, 2020

More and more, obesity is recognized as a disease, increasing the risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, joint and back pains, strokes, fatty liver, cirrhosis and more.

Wyoming Medical Center now offers Gastric Balloon, a nonsurgical procedure that can help patients lose weight while teaching them long-lasting lifestyle changes. For the first time in Wyoming, gastric balloons are now offered as part of our comprehensive bariatric program.

“It is important to remember that this is not a cosmetic procedure. It is an investment in your future health,” says Julien Fahed, MD. “The goal is to promote weight loss and gain health benefits 5 to 10 years down the road. If you are someone who has pre-diabetes or pre-hypertension, tools like this give you a chance to delay and maybe prevent those diseases from developing.”

Dr. Fahed is a board-certified gastroenterologist specializing in advanced bariatric endoscopic procedures. He worked for more than a year to expand the bariatric program at WMC by offering new nonsurgical weight loss procedures including Gastric Balloon, Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, and others. Ours is the state’s only accredited bariatric center.

Below, Dr. Fahed answers common questions about the Gastric Balloon.

What is a Gastric Balloon?

Gastric Balloon is a nonsurgical weight-loss procedure in which Orbera balloon is inserted endoscopically through a patient’s mouth into the stomach. The balloon is then filled with saline fluid to help patients feel full during meals. The balloon stays in the stomach for six months, and then it is removed.

Who is a good candidate for the procedure?

Gastric Balloons are typically offered for patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 however, it can sometimes be offered for patient with BMI of more than 25 on a case-by-case basis. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes.

On average, patients lost 3 ½ times more weight than those on a diet and exercise program alone. In the United States, clinical study patients lost an average of 21.8 pounds. In practice, we tend to see patients lose more than that.

What are the health benefits?

Gastric Balloons are used to improve, resolve or even prevent negative health conditions caused by excess weight. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease

How is the procedure performed?

Gastric balloon is a nonsurgical, outpatient procedure offered in Wyoming only at Wyoming Medical Center. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes and patients can go home about 2 hours after the procedure. There won’t be any incisions. Patients will receive medications to control nausea symptoms as needed and they can expect to go back to work after just a few days.

How does the procedure promote weight loss?

The balloon takes up space in the stomach, making the patient feel fuller, reducing the amount of food they eat and slowing digestion. While the balloon is in the stomach, patients learn about portion control and how much food their body needs for fuel.

Patients also undergo intensive dietary support, both while the balloon is in the stomach and for six months after. Like other weight-loss procedures, surgeries and programs, patients must commit to a healthier lifestyle for long-term success.

The amount of weight a patient loses depends on the long-term changes to their diet and exercise habits. But, loss of 7 to 15 percent of body weight is typical during the 6 months the balloon is inserted.

Is the Gastric Balloon safe?

The Gastric Balloon is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some patients experience nausea or abdominal pain in the first week, but it can be managed with medications and typically resolves.

The procedure is completely reversible at any time, and there are no changes in the patient’s anatomy.

What is the next step for people interested in learning more about Gastric Balloon placement at Wyoming Medical Center?

To learn more about this procedure, call Dr. Fahed’s office at 307-233-2700 for a consultation. During the visit, you will know if the Gastric Balloon is the right procedure for you or if there are other better options more suitable to your situation. No referral is needed.

Professional headshot of

Julien Fahed M.D.

Dr. Fahed is a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates.