LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - There's yet another weight loss option on the market. The Orbera balloon has been done worldwide for years, and now Lexington Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the Southeast to offer it. What may attract you to this weight-loss device is that you will not be hungry because your stomach feels full. And it is - with a balloon.
Chenise Nu is re-energized now that she is starting to lose the baby weight she packed on over two pregnancies. In January Nu underwent a new procedure now offered at Lexington Medical Center. It's called Orbera and is ideal for people who are 25 to 50 pounds overweight.
"I came across that procedure so I was like, oh, what's that? Minimally invasive? So, I went to the Orbera website and I saw how it was done and I said, 'I think I can do this.'"
Dr. Marc Antonetti of the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center calls this a second chance and a new start. In the ten-minute procedure, Dr. Antonetti guides a small, flexible videoscope through the mouth down to the stomach to temporarily implant a soft, silicon ball.
He says, "The balloon is made of silicon and it's filled with salt water. And it's about the size of a softball. So it's put in when it's deflated and then we slowly inflate it with saline saltwater solution until it floats in the stomach."
With the balloon inside the stomach, you feel fuller faster and eat less food. There are no incisions, no operation, no general anesthesia so no downtime. You need one day off. The balloon stays in six months and then is removed.
In addition to the balloon procedure, Dr. Antonetti and his team work with the patients on eating a healthy diet and exercising. The balloon is to just serve as the jump-start to a changed lifestyle.
The doctor says, "The hardest part for a lot of people is actually getting started. Once they get started, they get into a routine. They start feeling better about themselves, they begin to be more active and as you feel better and are more active, you tend to be more active and feel even better in the long-term."
But what happens when the balloon comes out? Will Nu go back to the habits that put her at her highest weight?
She emphatically responded with a "no." Nu says she paid a lot of money to have the procedure done. Plus, she now has a dietician from the hospital who will continue to work with her even after the balloon comes out.
Nu feels the price tag of 6,700 dollars is already paying off in compliments. Her co-workers call her STBS, or "Soon To Be Slim Chenise." It's an acronym she likes!
It's been eight weeks since Nu had her procedure. She has, so far, lost 25 pounds.