Theresa’s Non-Surgical Solution to Weight Loss
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Published on August 14, 2017

theresa senst and dr bradley thaemert

Theresa’s Non-Surgical Solution to Weight Loss

Theresa Senst had tried it all — the diets, the exercises. Losing and gaining the same weight over and over took its toll on her, and she found the situation incredibly frustrating. She determined that she needed a different approach to weight loss.

At the beginning of June 2017, Senst received the ORBERA™ Intragastric Balloon, a non-surgical weight-loss option available at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. After just one month with the balloon, Senst was proudly 20 pounds lighter (and still losing!)

“It was a very personal decision to try a medical weight-loss option,” said Senst. “Before the consultation, I spent a lot of time researching the ORBERA procedure, its side effects and success rate."

“Many people fail weight-loss efforts because they get bored with the food, the shakes and exercise,” said surgeon Bradley Thaemert, MD, with the Surgical Institute of South Dakota. Bariatric options can set the person onto a more permanent weight-loss journey, especially when you have the support of a medical team.

Senst credits Thaemert for easing her concerns and restoring her confidence in her decision to take the first step. “At my consultation, Dr. Thaemert was completely open and honest about what I could expect as well as what was expected of me in order to be successful,” said Senst.

“Theresa was the perfect candidate for the ORBERA balloon because she fit into the right BMI range and did not have any previous stomach surgeries,” said Thaemert. “Above all, she was motivated for the journey beyond the procedure.”

A procedure that only takes 15 to 30 minutes, the ORBERA balloon is placed in the patient’s stomach via the mouth and through the esophagus. The balloon is then “inflated” with saline solution to roughly the size of a grapefruit. Typically, patients have the capacity to eat about 1,000 calories a day, or 300 calories per meal. The feeling of fullness provided by the balloon prompts the person to eat less — and shed pounds.

The balloon does not stay in your body indefinitely; removal occurs after six months. During this time, however, the body trains itself to feel satisfied with less food.

To be considered a candidate for the ORBERA balloon, certain qualifications are observed to ensure you are ready both physically and mentally:

  • Modest weight-loss goals. ORBERA is intended for patients looking to lose only 30 to 50 pounds, or have a BMI between 30 and 40. “People who have more than 100 pounds to lose wouldn’t qualify for ORBERA; however, this procedure can be utilized once the individual reaches the target range in order to maximize his or her efforts,” said Thaemert.
  • Right mindset. Before being approved as a candidate, you must be ready to embrace a lifestyle overhaul — rather than see bariatric options as a quick-fix to weight loss. Dietitians, therapists and exercise experts are available to help keep you on track, even after the balloon is removed.

As for Senst, she’s taking it one day at a time. “I find myself becoming more confident and having energy to keep up with the kids … it’s why I recommend the ORBERA balloon to anyone who is interested and qualifies as a candidate.”

You can learn more about the approach Senst used online, and discover other bariatric patient testimonials. Bariatric seminars near you also are listed on this events page.

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