The Surgeon Minute

Obalon and Body Contouring Offer a Life-Changing Transformation

Obalon and Body Contouring Offer a Life-Changing Transformation

Obalon, a new FDA approved, non-invasive weight loss system, is changing the way plastic surgeons approach body contouring. Procedures such as liposuction and abdominoplasty can definitely improve a patient’s physique, but they only can remove relatively small amounts of fat and tissue, respectively. However, when surgeons combine body contouring with weight loss, the results can be truly transformative.

The problem is losing weight is hard. While it is estimated that 50 million people in this country go on a diet every year, only about 5% of them succeed at keeping off the weight. This is one of the reasons that the Obalon balloon system is so revolutionary. Almost 90% of the patients who lose weight with it wind up keeping that weight off for the subsequent year. Dr. Louis Bucky of Philadelphia discusses why he thinks Obalon is the future for body contouring.

Good Results Made Great

A few years ago, Dr. Bucky began to notice a trend in his body contouring before and after photos. His best results tended to be patients who, after their body contouring procedures, lost weight in the recovery period. He made the patient look “pretty good” with liposuction or a tummy tuck, and “they made themselves look great.” He quickly realized that this idea of combining weight loss with body contouring is really, “the best way to get not good results, but to get superb, outstanding results.”

Speaking with a plastic surgeon.

Obalon: Weight Loss Made Simple

Overcoming the inability for most to enact a personal weight loss system is the hurdle. Obalaon jumps this hurdle. And while obese patients who need to lose 50 pounds are more have quite a few effective surgical options such as the lap band or bariatric surgery, the patient who only needs to lose 20 to 40 pounds has to rely on natural methods. And for many, consistent diet and exercise may ultimately be out of reach. For these patients, Obalon may be the answer.

What is Obalon?

Obalon is a FDA approved, non-surgical swallowable balloon system for weight loss. The patient swallows a capsule containing a small balloon which is then inflated to the size of a small orange. Because of the space taken up by the balloon, the body reacts and believes itself to be full. Typically patients will swallow two further balloons over a 6 month period, to heighten the effect. Bucky pairs the system with nutritional counseling to increase positives results of healthy eating.

Obalon capsule.

Obalon Results Last

An extremely encouraging analysis shows that 90% of Obalon patients keep their weight off for the subsequent year. The mechanism of action here is a physical restriction of hunger that affects change on the mental urge. By inserting additional balloons over time, the patient feels physically and then mentally that they are full. It is a way to achieve weight loss and dieting, but more importantly, reprogram the patient to know what full means.

Obalon Not a Replacement for Diet & Exercise

While Obalon works, it is not a replacement for diet and exercise. It is an addendum to or support system that, when combined with a proper diet and exercise regime, delivers truly exemplary results. In other words, the patients who exercise and eat nutritionally well will see better results than those who don’t.

The bottom line with weight loss is that it requires effort on the part of the patient. While there are any number of weight loss programs that promise a miracle, no one will keep their weight off without changing their lifestyle.

Weight Loss + Body Contouring = Transformation

Procedures such as liposuction and a tummy tuck are not, and have never been, weight loss procedures. In fact, if patients wind up gaining weight after your procedure, it will adversely affect your results. These procedures are about changing your body contour. However, when you combine weight loss with body contouring, “that is transformational,” explains Dr. Bucky.

Incorporating weight loss management into surgical practices is changing the way that plastic surgeons approach their body procedures. Putting the best of both worlds together allows surgeons to achieve, “results that we never could have achieved with weight loss alone or body contouring alone,” says Bucky. He feels strongly that this winning combination is going to be the future of plastic surgery as it treats the patient both internally and externally, allowing patients to not just look better and feel better, but to also take better care of themselves.

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