Quest to Be Thin Leads Some to Canada
Intragastric balloon not FDA approved
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012 1:19 AM CDT
The intragastric balloon has not been approved for use in the US, sending desperate dieters increasingly to Canada for the procedure.   (misurgeryvids)

(Newser) – Desperate dieters are increasingly turning to Canada for the intragastric balloon, a popular weight-loss technique available in much of the world but not approved by the FDA, reports the New York Times. Less invasive than gastric bypass surgery or gastric bands, the balloon—inserted in an outpatient procedure—involves placing a liquid-filled balloon into the stomach to reduce hunger. The balloon is usually removed after about six months, and costs $8,000 in Canada, a fee that includes both the initial placement and final removal. Canadian clinics say that Americans account for one-third of the procedures.

A similar procedure used to be available in the US in the 1980s, but it was off the market by 1992 due to problems with the balloons and questions about efficacy. Critics say the balloon is dangerous, and there is little evidence it is any more effective than regular dieting and exercise. People using the intragastric balloon typically lose between 14 and 34 pounds, although some report losses up to 50 pounds. “That’s the most common complication—not losing as much weight as the patient would like," said the doctor who pioneered the procedure in Canada.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
KatyAtl90
Apr 11, 2012 11:53 AM CDT
Whoah, there is a BIG difference between racial discrimination and discrimination based on weight.. Not that the obesity problem isn't complicated, people have different metabolisms and the issue of access to fresh produce for a reasonable cost is a big problem. People will always be different weights, naturally, I don't think anyone argues that. We're talking about actual obese people, who are ballooning way beyond their natural weight because of how they live. However, you're ultimately putting that food into your body and increasing or maintaining your weight, period. You can change it through diet and exercise. You have zero control over your race. Obesity causes MAJOR medical problems that we all end up having to take care of, being a different race doesn't. If you want to be obese, whatever, it's a free country. But don't complain about having to buy two bus tickets if you can't fit your butt into one. And don't expect a liquid balloon to be a miracle cure to years of bad habits.
BrushMan
Apr 10, 2012 5:24 PM CDT
Obesity is simply an expression of the desire to consume ever more; some people are automobile obese, or house obese, sex obese, etc. Doesn't always have to be about food.
slammer
Apr 10, 2012 12:32 PM CDT
THANKS NEWSER! I LOVE A GOOD STORY LIKE THIS. HELPES ME TO EAT LESS AND EAT RIGHT! BALLOON YUK AND A HALF! $8000. OTHER YUK AND HALF!