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Area Doctor Explains If Weight Loss Balloon Is 'Right For Me'

Dr. Anthony Starpoli, of Greenwich Village Gastroenterology and American Obesity Center.
Dr. Anthony Starpoli, of Greenwich Village Gastroenterology and American Obesity Center. Photo Credit: GV Gastroenterology

NEW YORK -- To balloon fix, or not to balloon fix, that is the problem. Well, its at least the question Greenwich Village Gastroenterology doctor and Director of the American Obesity Center, Dr. Anthony Starpoli asks when discussing weight loss treatments for his patients.

"These are people that have done diet and exercise before, have a history of yo-yoing up and down" says Dr. Starpoli. "Many people have done meal substation therapies at a very expensive level but has not worked. The typical candidate is a person who do not want bypass or invasive surgery at all. This is known as the treatment gap: People who fail to effectively diet and exercise but do not want surgery." It is these type of patients that are the best fit for the gastric balloon procedure.

In addition, prospective patients cannot be pregnant and cannot have had prior gastric surgery for weight loss. Ultimately, what doctors are trying to do is get people with high BMI on the lower, healthier, end. When evaluating a patients health, Dr. Starpoli says he often looks for a procedure base BMI to be between 30 and 40. For those with an even higher BMI, the balloon can be used as a bridge for a more invasive weight-loss surgery down the road.

Patients also must be committed to a yearlong program, Dr. Starpoli reminds. The balloon fix is not simply a set and forget procedure. Those who elect must be willing to work closely with a nutritionist to ensure that healthy eating and exercise habits are set in place, so that when the balloon is removed, the correct practices are set in place.

Users are are able to do food logging, photographs as well as monitor their Fitbit activity. "We employ smart mobile technology that provides for virtual visits so patients have better compliance with the program" says Dr. Starpoli. Our program is hinged not only on inserting a balloon but working with people who are committed to good nutrition the six months during and six months after months after. Not everyone is willing to do that," he says. "We're trying to change behavior."

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