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Are you overweight? Are you tired of being overweight? Have you thought about getting surgery to help you lose weight, but, you’re not quite ready to commit to surgery? Then you may want to consider the newest method of weight loss assistance, the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System, now available at The Weight Loss Center at Harlingen Medical Center.

The award-winning and nationally recognized Harlingen Medical Center, along with Jason Phillips, M.D., a leading Gastroenterologist in the Rio Grande Valley, and, Partner-In-Care to Harlingen Medical Center, has launched the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System as part of its Weight Loss Center. The Intragastric Balloon System, also known a “water balloon,” is a tool to help you lose weight and give you the upper hand in the battle against excess weight.

The ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System is a weight loss device that utilizes a balloon to occupy space in the stomach, which will give the sensation of being full – keeping food consumption to a minimum. The balloon is tightly held together, through a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure, and inserted through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. This is not a surgical procedure. There is no cutting and no stitching. The patient is placed under mild sedation while the procedure is performed. Once the balloon reaches the stomach – it is filled with salt water (saline), so that the balloon expands into a spherical shape and occupies at least half of the stomach. The balloon can be filled with 400 to 700 cc of saline, but, will be filled with an amount that is appropriate for the patient in accordance with their body type and size.

“The sensation of being full, with the installation of the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System, is to help patients develop habits of portion control, and, aid in weight loss,” said Dr. Phillips. “The balloon will be most beneficial to patients when they partner this procedure with a disciplined program of diet and exercise. The gastric balloon has shown to help patients lose more weight than is possible with diet and exercise alone.”

According to Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., the maker of the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System, it is designed to be a temporary tool to give patients a mechanism to reach a weight that is more in alignment with their stature. The balloon will only be in the patients’ stomach for a total of six (6) months. It must then be removed. It will be extracted – the same way that it went in.

“The individual who seeks this weight loss system, as an option for them, must understand that this is to help give them an advantage to losing weight. They must follow a diet plan and exercise regimen to achieve success,” said Eva Selvera, Registered Dietitian at The Weight Loss Center at Harlingen Medical Center. “While they have the balloon system in place – our team of healthcare providers will be here to guide them as they go through the process and develop their new lifestyle. Lifestyle that includes eating the right foods, taking vitamins and minerals, and maintaining an active lifestyle.”

“Obesity is an epidemic in our country that carries many of the same risks as smoking,” said Dr. Phillips. “As physicians, we tell our patients to lose weight. This is an easy recommendation to state but difficult to achieve and maintain. I wanted to find a new method to combat this epidemic that was more effective than just telling my patients that they need to lose weight. The ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System provides a non-surgical method to lose weight and learn lifestyle changes to keep the weight off.”

According to Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., patients who have used the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System have shown to lose an average of 10.2% of their body weight. This is an average of 21.8 pounds. And, the majority of them have managed to maintain the weight off.

The most noted discomfort of the intragastric balloon is nausea. Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., advises that some patients may feel nauseated for a few days after the procedure, but, it will subside. They too may have some vomiting and/or abdominal discomfort, but, it will subside within 24 to 48 hours.

“The ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System is a great tool to help people who want to lose weight, live healthier lives, and regain an active lifestyle,” said Patsy Muniz, Coordinator of The Weight Loss Center at Harlingen Medical Center. “The goal with our program is to help our patients’ lead healthier lives. We can help them accomplish this with various service options, whether it’s a gastric bypass, lapband, sleeve, or balloon. We are here to create enduring partnerships with patients in order to secure long-term success.”

“The balloon facilitates the weight loss, but the real strength in this year-long program is developing healthy lifestyle changes,” added Dr. Phillips. “To be successful long term, our patients in this program will need to commit to follow-up for counseling after the procedure itself.”

The ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon System is not covered by most health insurance providers.

For more information, Dr. Phillips will host an Intragastric Balloon System Information Seminar on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at 5:30 p.m., at the Harlingen Medical Center Medical Office Building (MOB) Conference Room, located at 5505 S. Expressway 77, in Harlingen. You may RSVP, for the information seminar, at 956-365-1140 or at