American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery adds intragastric balloon to approved devices list — 4 insights

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery added the intragastric balloon to its list of approved procedures and devices, effective Feb. 5.

Here's what you should know:

1. Intragastric balloons are used to treat obesity in patients with body mass indexes between 30 and 40.

2. ASMBS President Samer Mattar, MD, said the devices can fill a treatment gap between medication and weight loss surgery. The organization considers them a standard intervention in the continuum of care for obese patients.

3. The organization added the devices to its approved list in an attempt to increase insurance coverage.

Dr. Mattar said, "Insurance coverage for this procedure is currently non-existent. It is our hope that our approval and the body of evidence that supports the appropriate use of the device will change that and more people will have access to a new treatment option for obesity."

4. The society estimates 5,000 patients have received an intragastric balloon device to date, since it gained FDA approval. That number is less than 3 percent of the 216,000 bariatric surgeries performed in the U.S. in 2016.

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