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New procedure to help people lose weight adds to the stomach instead of shrinking it

Diane Navarro looks forward to her regular follow-ups with her doctor after she had success with the gastric balloon.

"I found this to be the best choice for me because I didn't want to have surgery."

The 52-year-old Fresno professional tried countless diets to get healthy, but her busy lifestyle led to weight gain again and again.

"I had twins in my early 20's and just the lifestyle of being a mom and a work environment, I didn't always have the best eating choices," said Navarro.

Navarro admits, she had trouble knowing when to stop eating.

"I didn't give a darn about portions actually. I felt like I was eating all the time."

Then, a post on her Facebook feed about the Orbera Gastric Balloon caught her eye and sent her to Athenix of Fresno. Dr. Kevin Ciresi said the procedure isn't a procedure at all, but can help people lose between 25 to 50 pounds.

"It's meant as a weight loss aid. It's not going to cause you to lose weight. It helps most people in the process of losing weight because they've got a balloon in their stomach that makes them feel full."

The procedure involves the patient being sedated while the balloon is inserted through the mouth. Once in the stomach, it's filled with saline until it's about the size of a grapefruit.

The Gastric Balloon is typically left in the stomach for about six months. That is about how long it would take stomach acids to start breaking down the material. Dr. Ciresi said a rupture is very rare but if it did happen, only the harmless saline solution would be released into the body and then absorbed.

At the end of six months, the balloon is deflated then removed. But while it is in the stomach, the patient eats less, loses weight and gets one-on-one and group coaching to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

"This is really helping to change your habits. This is not the answer, you have to change your habits," said Dr. Ciresi.

That is what finally worked for Navarro.

"I now know what full feels like and when to stop."

One of the techniques Navarro learned was to take pictures of plates of healthier meals, to remind herself about balanced portions.

"That's so you can go back and say, okay, at one point in time I was satisfied with this amount of food."

Navarro lost 30 pounds and continues to see smaller numbers on the scale. The Gastric Balloon is not covered by insurance and costs about $8,000 including the lifestyle coaching before and after the process.

Athenix said the annual out of pocket medical costs for an obese person can reach $5,000 making the balloon ultimately, a money and health saver.

Navarro said the balloon helped change her body and mind.

"I've learned to actually be the one in control."

Source: ABC 30

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All Locations Now OPEN! View COVID-19 Policy

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 Your safety is our top priority.

To our valued patients,

I hope that you and your families have stayed healthy and well during this difficult time. We want to thank all of the essential workers that provided us with critical services during this period and also to all of you that remained at home preventing the further spread of the virus.

As we re-open our facilities our priority remains the safety and well being of our patients and staff. To that end, we have implemented a number of important safety measures at all of our facilities.

  1. All patients, staff, and caregivers will be screened via a questionnaire and temperature for Covid-19 symptoms at the front entrance.
  2. Only those individuals that pass the screening will be allowed into the facility.
  3. Patients can only bring 1 other person with them to the appointment.
  4. All patients (and caregivers) need to wear a mask while in the facility. Please bring a cloth or other mask with you to the appointment.
  5. Physical distancing will be in effect in the office waiting room and throughout the office.
  6. Once the physical distance capacity has been reached in the waiting room, patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles and will be called to come in at their appointment time.
  7. All surfaces in the office will be cleaned and disinfected at least on an hourly basis.
  8. All patient rooms will be cleaned and disinfected after each patient use.
  9. Caregivers waiting for patients after surgery will be asked to not wait in the facility.
  10. All staff will be wearing PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines.

We understand that these continue to be uncertain and difficult times however we remain committed to your health, well being, safety, and ensuring you the best outcome possible.

All Athenix Body Sculpting Institute locations are now open. However, as we continue to practice physical distancing, we are still available for virtual consultations at any of our locations. You can reach us by calling 1-888-276-1535 or email [email protected] to get scheduled.

We thank you for your continued support and trust in Athenix and look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Gavin M. Dry, M.D. Chief Medical Officer