Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures

Quick Summary
Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedures
Procedure Length
1-3 hours depending on type of procedure
General or conscious sedation 
Mostly outpatient
Risks and Side Effects
Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, leakage, etc.
Recovery Time
1-2 weeks
Average Cost
$6,000 to $12,000

New approach to bariatric surgery

A growing numbers of bariatric surgeons are now performing “surgeries” without incisions as an alternative to incision-based procedures. These surgeons are using natural orifices (such as the throat) to insert the tools they need to help perform the procedure.

If you are researching weight loss surgery, but want to avoid incisions, you may want to consider these non-surgical options.

Are you a good candidate?

Most candidates for weight loss procedures are at least 80-100 pounds overweight, although these incision-free alternatives can be performed on those who have 50-80 pounds to lose.

Non-surgical weight loss procedures may be used on some patients who have health complications that make more invasive procedures a poor option.

StomaphyX and the transoral rose, two forms of incision-free weight loss surgery, are recommended for those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery but have started to regain the excess weight.

Other methods are recommended for those who are overweight but aren’t ready to commit to major abdominal surgery to help them lose the pounds.

Incision-free weight loss procedures allow patients to lose weight without undergoing major surgery, with the resulting recovery period and scars. Body Mass Index

Types of non-surgical weight loss procedures

During ‘Incision-free’ weight loss surgery, the surgeon inserts the needed devices and tools through your throat, rather than an incision in your abdomen. The way the procedure is performed depends on the specific technique chosen by the patient. Some of the incision-free weight loss surgery options include:

Endoluminal Sleeve
A sleeve that lines the upper portion of the small intestine, bypassing the duodenum and the first portion of the jejunum. This limits the amount of food that may be absorbed by the body.
StomaphyX During this procedure the doctor reduces the size of the stomach. Performed on those who have undergone gastric bypass or other forms of weight loss surgery, but whose stomach has become stretched out since the procedure, StomaphyX returns the stomach to the smaller size that it was immediately following surgery.
Transoral Gastroplasty
An procedure in which the doctor inserts a stapler device down the throat. Once in the stomach, the device is then used to staple off a portion of the stomach, making it smaller. The new stomach only holds a small amount of food, reducing the amount of food that may be eaten at each meal.
Transoral Rose Like StomaphyX, Transoral Rose is a procedure that is performed on those who have regained weight after a previous weight loss surgery. During surgery, sutures are used to create folds around the stoma, creating a narrower diameter. The stomach will empty slower with the narrower stoma, leaving patients feeling fuller faster.
Gastric balloon  A deflated balloon is inserted down the throat and into the stomach. Then, it is filled with liquid or air to reduce the amount of food that may be eaten. This temporary measure may be left in place for up to six months, and the stomach will be returned to its previous size once the balloon is removed.

Risks and side effects

Some of the risks of incision-free weight loss procedures include throat pain during recovery. Other risks are related to the specific technique used. Some possible risks and side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid reflux
  • Leakage, may also cause an increase in gas, belching, or bloating.

In general, non-surgical weight loss procedures are seen as safer than more invasive types of bariatric surgery. It’s recommended that patients discuss all the possible risks and complications with their surgeon before having surgery.

What is the cost?

Non-surgical weight loss procedures are still considered new compared to more traditional methods and are not widely offered to patients. As a result, the average cost for many of these procedures vary widely from $6,000 to $12,000.

Insurance companies may or may not cover these newer methods. Check with your insurance provider before moving forward with surgery to see what costs, if any, they will cover.