UHealth Surgeon Only Florida Doctor Trained to Perform Newly Approved Gastric Balloon Placement
Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz, M.D., leader of bariatric surgery at UHealth – University of Miami Health System, is the only Florida surgeon and one of a handful of surgeons in the U.S. trained to perform the newly approved ORBERA Intragastric Balloon procedure. On August 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the non-surgical procedure to help adult patients suffering from obesity.
The ORBERA balloon was developed by Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., and is part of the ORBERA Managed Weight Loss System, a two-part program consisting of a non-surgical procedure and dietary counseling, that was developed for adults with a body mass index of 30 to 40.
The first portion of the program consists of a thin and deflated ORBERA balloon placed into the patient’s stomach endoscopically by a specially-trained surgeon, while the patient is under a mild sedative. The balloon is then filled with saline until it is approximately the size of a grapefruit. In most cases, the procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes and the patient can go home the same day. Six months later, another non-surgical procedure is done to deflate and remove the balloon.
“At UHealth, we have the expertise to offer a variety of individualized bariatric surgical options to our patients, giving them the best chance at a healthier life,” said de la Cruz-Munoz, who is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Laparoendoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery and associate professor of surgery at the Miller School of Medicine. “The OBERA gastric balloon system is a novel technique because there is no incision, and it’s reversible, opening up the possibility of weight loss to a new group of patients. This provides us with another precision option to offer people.”
De la Cruz-Munoz is now performing the ORBERA procedure at University of Miami Hospital, where he is the Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery.
Once the balloon is in place, the patient receives an individually tailored support program through the ORBERA Managed Weight Loss System team of experts — which may include a dietician, psychologist and exercise physiologist — to help keep them motivated, coordinate their program and help them work through weight loss barriers to meet their long-term weight loss goals. Coaching takes place over 12 months, even though the balloon is removed after six months. The program is designed to help the patient develop sustainable, healthy habits that will help keep weight off over time.
The ORBERA weight loss device has been used in more than 200,000 patients in 80 countries. It received FDA approval for use in the U.S. following clinical trials that showed the average participant lost 3.1 times the weight lost through diet and exercise alone over a six-month period. It was designed as a non-surgical method to help fight obesity and treat patients before their disease progresses and requires more invasive treatments.
More information about UHealth offering the ORBERA Managed Weight Loss System is available here.