So you’ve been reading a lot about gastric balloon weight loss, and you think it might be right for you. You’ve filled out the questionnaire, and it seems you might be an excellent candidate. Great! So what’s the next step?
The next step in your weight loss journey is to find a trained physician who performs gastric balloon procedures. It turns out that a variety of different types of physicians perform the balloon weight loss procedures. The specialists that perform them the most include bariatric surgeons, plastic surgeons, and gastroenterologists.
Types of Specialists that Perform Balloon Weight Loss Procedures:
The specialist that probably performs the most balloon weight loss procedures is the bariatric surgeon. Bariatric surgeons are the surgeons that perform weight loss surgeries such as the gastric bypass, Lap Band and other various procedures that promote weight loss, so the gastric balloon procedure is right up their alley.
Bariatric surgeons are medically trained specialists who after completing medical school and a surgical residency proceed on to specialized training specifically in the field of bariatrics. Bariatrics is the specialty branch of medicine that treats obesity while also identifying it’s the causes and formulating methods of prevention. Physicians who are board certified by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, have completed rigorous training and met specific established standards. They must undergo recertification every ten years to prove they are up to date with current practices and standards of care.
Because they are experienced with the complexity of obesity and its many causes, bariatric specialty offices are often well-equipped with other support staff such as dietitians and counselors. Weight loss involves more than just a procedure and having guidance from well-trained dietitians, and counselors can be an invaluable tool during your weight loss journey. Bariatric specialists also usually provide structured follow up care to ensure long-term weight loss success.
Plastic surgeons are also among the many types of physicians that perform balloon weight loss procedures. Plastic surgeons devote their practice to improving the overall appearance and function of the human body so it’s not surprising that they too would be interested in helping people look and feel their best with the gastric balloon. Their attention to detail and familiarity with surgeries and procedures give patients great confidence in receiving their gastric balloon procedure from a plastic surgeon.
A well-trained and trustworthy plastic surgeon will be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To be certified by the board, the physician must complete several years of a surgical residency after medical school. This residency includes years of general and plastic surgery training in combination or solely in plastic surgery.
Plastic surgeons are also great at giving you all-around excellent cosmetic results, so if you are interested in doing more for your general appearance, a plastic surgeon may be the specialist for you. Not every plastic surgeon performs balloon weight loss surgery, but if one comes up on your list of the physicians that do, you’ll understand what a plastic surgeon can offer in comparison to other specialists.
Gastroenterologists perform probably the most endoscopic procedures out of all the specialty groups. They are physicians that specialize in caring for all kinds of digestive disorders. They frequently perform procedures called endoscopies that involve inserting a long flexible camera, called an endoscope, into the stomach and intestines for diagnosis and treatment of various digestive conditions. Since the majority of gastric balloons are placed in the stomach with an endoscope, it’s only fitting that gastroenterologists would be among the specialists that are performing balloon weight loss procedures.
Gastroenterologists are trained in the field of gastroenterology. After completing medical school and a residency in internal medicine, they then complete a few additional years of training specifically in gastroenterology. This training includes countless endoscopic procedures and an in-depth understanding of the entire digestive tract.
Although not all gastroenterologists perform balloon weight loss procedures, many are joining the list and understandably so. Gastroenterologists often have their own outpatient procedure facilities, reducing hospital fees and often employ dietitians to help patients manage their diet and understand how food affects them. They can also easily address other digestive complaints such as acid reflux, nausea and much more, should they occur.
Various other types of physicians can and are performing balloon weight loss procedures including family medicine physicians and cosmetic surgeons. As long as the physician is board-certified and trained to insert the particular brand of gastric balloon you are interested in, they can perform balloon weight loss procedures. However, it’s up to you find a reputable and experienced professional for optimal results and lower risk of complications.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss Specialist:
What does your training include?
Remember the balloon weight loss procedure doesn’t have to be performed by a surgeon, but you do want a medically trained professional with experience doing endoscopies or inserting catheters into the stomach.
What board are you certified with?
Board certification is evidence that a physician has completed rigorous training, passed oral and written exams and met specific standards of care. The specific board they are certified by will inform you of the type of training have had. If they are board certified in a field that is not particularly familiar with weight loss procedures, for example, nephrology (kidney specialty), it’s up to you if you want to proceed with that specialist.
Where did you receive training for this balloon weight loss procedure?
Most of the gastric balloon manufacturers/suppliers will train the participating physician on how to insert that particular brand of gastric balloon. The different brands of balloons are similar but still different, and each brand may have specific techniques or considerations that the physician should be aware of when placing it. Be sure the physician you choose has been trained in placing the particular balloon you are interested in.
How many gastric balloons have you placed?
You want to be sure they have experiencing placing the specific gastric balloon you are interested in. The specialist’s training should require several procedures that were supervised by a more experienced specialist. To be considered “well-experienced,” this type of procedure should be performed at least once per week for five years or more. Several times a week for fewer years is comparable.
What hospitals or other surgical facilities are you affiliated with?
Hospital or facility affiliation usually means that they are in good standing the medical community and likely do not have any credible offenses against their medical practice.
Do you provide dietary or other forms of counseling throughout the process?
As we’ve mentioned before, dietary guidance and counseling can be a considerable advantage in your weight loss journey. The gastric balloon itself is a weight loss tool, not a magical cure. You will learn how to eat wiser and in healthier portions, but a dietitian or other trained medical provider can help you identify unhealthy habits, triggers that drive you to overeat and other helpful tools to have long-lasting results.
What type of follow-up care do you provide?
Having the gastric balloon procedure is just the beginning of your weight loss journey. Follow-up care is essential to long-term success, and many practices that specialize in weight loss understand that. Not only should your specialist be concerned that you don’t develop complications from the procedure, but it should also be evident that your overall health and weight loss goals are their priority as well.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss Specialist:
Type of Balloon
Currently, there are three gastric balloon devices approved by the FDA in the United States. They are Orbera, Reshape and Obalon. On www.balloonweightloss.com we’ve outlined the basics of each device. If there’s a device you specifically want, you can then search for specialists that place that particular device.
Obviously, you’ll likely want to choose a practice that is somewhat close to where you live or if not, in a location that you can stay for awhile or get to easily. Balloon weight loss procedures will require routine follow up visits every few weeks, sometimes every week the first month or so. Visits for dietary counseling or support groups may also require you to travel to the practice location so be sure you take proximity into consideration.
Learn from those who have gone before. Nothing is a more significant testament to a physician’s care than the reviews of those he or she has cared for. Of course, there will always be a few unhappy customers no matter how impressive a physician is but if the balance rest on the negative side, keep looking. Google, Yelp and other forms of third-party reviews exist. Testimonials on the practice’s website will likely only be positive but are still helpful.
The people that answer the phones, greet you when you arrive, take you back to the exam room and aid the physician during the entire process can make for a pleasant or not so pleasant experience. It’s not just the physician you’re hiring but the entire support staff. You’ll want to feel cared for by not only the physician but the other staff that you interact with. More often than not, it’s the support staff that makes a greater impact on your experience than the physician. If you don’t feel like you’ll get the support you need from the entire team, you may want to keep looking.
Here I’m talking about how well you are educated about the procedure and entire process by the specialist and his or her team. Again, the balloon weight loss procedure is just the beginning of a healthier lifestyle for you. You need to equipped with a good understanding of how to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid falling back into routines that could sabotage your success.
We are so excited you are taking the next steps in becoming a healthier, happier you. We are here to help and want to be your resource all things Balloon Weight Loss! Are you interested in Learning more about the Gastric Balloon or would you like to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.