Obalon “Swallowable” Gastric Balloon in Cincinnati, Ohio

In Cincinnati, Ohio our physicians at JourneyLite have done many ReShape and Orbera insertions over the years.  Gastric balloons have been a significant breakthrough in the field of non-surgical weight loss, and now a new device, the Obalon “swallowable” gastric balloon is out.

Overall, advantages of gastric balloons include:

  • lower risk than surgery
  • lower cost than surgery
  • faster recovery than surgery
  • does not permanently alter the patient’s anatomy
  • can be a great kickstart for a patient who is not a candidate for surgery to make a lifestyle change

Up until now, in the US at least, a gastric balloon has required two procedures:  one endoscopy (with anesthesia) to insert the balloon, and then one endoscopy (also with anesthesia) to remove it 6 months later.  The Obalon gastric balloon changes this equation for the better, as it can easily be placed in the office with no anesthesia and no downtime.

Both ReShape and Orbera gastric balloons have more similarities than differences.  Both of them require two endoscopies, both of them are filled with saline, and both of them have a reasonably high rate (8%-16%) of intolerance, which requires early removal of the device.  See Table 1 below for a list of similarities and differences between these devices.

Obalon is a definite game-changer in the gastric balloon world.  Obalon patients receive a total of 3 smaller balloons over a total of 8 weeks.  Each balloon insertion is a simple process:  the patient comes into the office, stands in front of an xray machine, and swallows a capsule with a tiny catheter attached to it.  The physician uses xray to confirm that the capsule is in the stomach, and then it is inflated with a special cannister of gas up to 250cc.  The patient comes back then every 4 weeks until all 3 balloons have been placed.

Obalon Uninflated & Inflated

obalon gastric balloon
This technique has some major advantages over traditional gastric balloons.  Most importantly, increasing the total balloon volume gradually over time results in much better tolerance than inserting an Orbera or ReShape and immediately inflating it up to 900cc’s.  This results in much less nausea and vomiting upon each balloon placement, allowing most patients to return to work the next day.

Their initial trial, SMART, showed excellent safety profile with no balloon leaks or early removal.  Weight loss was roughly double that of the control group.

The development of less-invasive treatments such as Obalon will hopefully allow physicians to attack the disease of obesity much earlier, avoiding major disease like type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.

Click here to schedule an Obalon “swallowable” gastric balloon consultation!


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Our First Virtual Support Group!

Join us on VHPGO!

Virtual+Live Support Group

Wednesday January 24th, 6:30-7:30 pm

Topic: Goal Setting

Join us on Wednesday, January 24th at 6:30pm for our first ever virtual support group through our new VHPGO app!  Rebecca Erdman RD/LD will discuss strategies on successful goal setting towards achieving your healthy weight.  This will be a great way to start off the new year!

In order to participate you must have an active VHPGO membership.  You can learn more or sign up at LoseWeightCincy/VHPGO

Any active VHPGO membership will work, but the best value is definitely the $99/year flat access.

VHPGO will also give you the ability to do virtual visits with our dietitians right on your phone, which will greatly reduce your office wait times!

You can also attend the support group live, at the usual place in our Cincinnati office (10475 Reading Road).

We are excited about this new technology and would like to encourage everyone to participate.  We are offering this at our cost with no markup as I feel strongly that it will improve weight loss outcomes!

Go to LoseWeightCincy.com/VHPGO and sign up now!

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New technology: VHPGO will help you succeed!

Announcing our new, state-of-the-art platform for remote/online support with JourneyLite Physicians!

We are happy to announce our new partnership with Virtual Health Partners!  The VHPGO platform allows us to do so much more to help patients get to their goal weight and stay there.  Our dietitians can set goals, monitor weight loss, and see how active you are being.  Have an appointment with a dietitian but the weather’s bad?  With VHPGO it’s no problem you can do it on your phone right from home!

Easily accessible on your smart phone with the VHPGO app, anywhere you go you can always be in touch.  Online support groups, physician virtual visits, and an online library of hundreds of useful videos, the VHPGO platform gives our patients the edge they need to succeed!

Here is a sample screenshot with some of the options you can choose from on the Enhanced Package:

Options you can choose with MyVirtualHP enhanced package.

Sample options from MyVirtualHP enhanced package.

At an amazingly affordable price of around $13/month for flat access, VHPGO is going to revolutionize the way we interace and support our patients!

Click here to find out more on how to kick start your weight loss!




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Dr. Tracy Pitt & ESG, A Powerful New Duo In The Fight Against Obesity

Dr. Tracy Pitt is a weight loss surgeon JourneyLite Surgery Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He trained at the Cleveland Clinic and has dedicated his career to helping patients lose weight and improve their health.  In the not-so-distant past this meant big operations, big incisions, long hospital stays, and potentially high risk.  Now, however, there are many new developments in the field of weight loss procedures that could be real game-changers in the field.

“Many of my patients are interested in losing weight but they don’t want to have surgery” Pitt says.  “Diets have failed over and over in the past and they need a more powerful option to succeed.”  For decades, gastric bypass was the gold standard, and still is in many circles.  But there are two camps who are looking for non-surgical options:  those who don’t have enough weight to lose to justify full-on surgery, and those who qualify for surgery but their fears of being cut on outweigh the benefits of bariatric surgery.

Dr. Pitt says “The risk of weight loss surgery has really come way down in the last decade.  It’s now no more risky than gallbladder surgery.  But the more options we have in our arsenal, the more effective we can be at treating the disease of obesity.”   He feels that obesity treatments might be more successful if patients were treated at a lower BMI, intervening earlier rather than waiting for the scale to climb high enough to require gastric bypass.

Dr. Pitt has always been interested in minimally invasive techniques, so much that his entire fellowship was dedicated to minimally invasive surgery.  So it was only natural for him to take an interest in weight loss procedures that could be done without surgery altogether.  “First we had the gastric balloon” says Pitt, “but many patients are looking to a more permanent tool,” referring to the fact that gastric balloons must be removed after they’ve been in for 6 months.   When a new procedure called the Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, or ESG, came on the horizon, Dr. Pitt scheduled himself for a training course almost immediately.

The ESG procedure uses an endoscopic “sewing machine” called the Overstitch (Apollo Endosurgery) with which Dr. Pitt has extensive experience already.  Sutures are placed inside the patients stomach to reduce the gastric volume, while they are under anesthesia.  One study has shown that after patients have the ESG, they require 59% fewer calories to achieve maximum fullness.  Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, early results have been promising.  Patients can typically have this procedure done on an outpatient basis and be back to work in about a week.


Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty-ESG

Dr. Pitt performed the first ESG in the state of Ohio in August of 2017 at JourneyLite, and he already has dozens more patients who are scheduled for consultations.  “The field of weight loss surgery is always evolving towards less invasive procedures” says Dr. Pitt, “and this new option can offer patients a much more durable tool to control their weight than any of the non-surgical methods we have seen in the past.”  His first patient, a 35-year-old female with a BMI around 31, wanted to lose weight for two reasons:  to improve her health and prevent future disease such as diabetes, and to look and feel her best for her wedding 6 months down the road.  “This is the perfect kind of patient for an ESG” says Pitt, “one with a lower BMI who is motivated to make lasting changes in both diet and lifestyle.”

Dr. Pitt is optomistic about the future of ESG, but acknowledges that long-term studies need to be done before doctors can truly know how this will fit into the treatment of obesity.  “Until we have those results” Pitt says, “we have to select the best patients who are most likely to be successful with an ESG and are aware of the fact that this is a new procedure that is not yet time-tested.”

For more information on Dr. Tracy Pitt, the ESG, and JourneyLite, visit JourneyLite.com

Sebastian Stomache'

To schedule a live or virtual ESG consult with Dr. Tracy Pitt click here!

(Note: Patients who have already had bariatric surgery are not candidates for the procedure.  Also, ESG is not covered by insurance, but may be eligible for HSA/FLEX healthcare accounts.)


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We are now JourneyLite Physicians!

We are now JourneyLite Physicians!

I am happy to announce that The Center for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and Metabolic Weight Loss Centers have merged into one company, doing business as JourneyLite Physicians!  

Many of you may not have even realized that that there were two companies (one for surgical, and one for medical weight loss and products).  This stems from way back in the day when we had a gym at the Cincinnati location.  This will greatly simplify things as surgical patients will no longer have to do 2 transactions if purchasing any product.  

Same great team, just a different name that supports our strong affiliation with JourneyLite Surgery Center!

Happy losing,

Dr. Trace Curry 

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SIPS procedure: First in Cincinnati by Dr. Steve Udelhofen at JourneyLite

The first SIPS procedure in Cincinnati was performed by Dr. Steve Udelhofen at JourneyLite!  SIPS stands for Stomach Intestinal Pylorus Sparing, and is a new procedure based on the traditional duodenal switch.  The advantage of the SIPS is that the risk is lower as there is only one connection that needs to be made between the GI tract rather than two in the traditional DS, as seen below.

SIPS procedure is based on duodenal switch

Standard Duodenal Switch

loop duodenal switch

SIPS Procedure or Loop Duodenal Switch

The SIPS procedure is also known as the Loop Duodenal Switch (LDS) and you can see why in the above image.  The labels “A” and “C” in the image represent the connection between the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine, and a “loop” of the intestine much farther downstream.  This results in much fewer calories being absorbed than the patient actually consumes.  The term “pylorus sparing” refers to the fact that the pylorus remains intact, and the connection that is made (A to C) is between intestine and intestine rather than stomach and intestine as in a gastric bypass.  This reduces the risk of dumping syndrome and ulcers.

Since the first part of a SIPS procedure is actually a gastric sleeve, it can be a great option for sleeve patients who still need to lose more weight.  It is also the procedure of choice among many surgeons for high-BMI patients as many studies show duodenal switch offers the most weight loss, best resolution of diabetes, and lowest chance of long-term weight regain.

The SIPS procedure is done laparoscopically through 5 tiny incisions, takes about 90 minutes, and patients can typically go home in 24 hours.  Back to work is generally 2 weeks for non-lifting jobs, and diet is advanced slowly over a period of 4 weeks to solid food.

As the SIPS procedure involves bypassing a significant amount of small intestine, patients must commit to life-long vitamin supplements and yearly lab work to check vitamin levels.

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