ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A clinic that opened in August is focusing on helping patients with their wellness goals, including losing weight.
Dr. Justin Clark of Anchorage Bariatrics said while some patients are good candidates for surgery, there are plenty of options for less invasive methods to getting healthy.
Three years ago, Dr. Clark performed a gastric bypass surgery on Kristi Naval who now works as a registered nurse for the clinic.
"I feel like a brand new person and have a brand new life," Naval said.
During this procedure, the surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach about the size of an egg and attaches the small bowel to the pouch, making patients feel less hungry after meals.
Naval said her surgery was successful and she lost 92 pounds to date.
While the surgery can be a viable answer for some, Dr. Clark said there are procedures like the Orbera intragastric balloon that is non-surgical and not permanent.
"It fits into two patient populations that works well, one is the people who may qualify for surgery, but aren't ready to take that step of a surgery and two, for people who don't qualify for surgery, but still need a lot of help losing weight," Dr. Clark said.
A balloon is inserted into the stomach and inflates to the size of about a small grapefruit and stays there for six months.
"It stretches the stomach, which decreases the hormone called ghrelin into the brain and makes you less hungry," Dr. Clark said.
According to Dr. Clark, the procedure is considered a moderate weight loss program and not recommended for those who need to lose more than 100 pounds.
While the balloon device is a relatively new method of weight loss, only performed in the United States for about a year, Dr. Clark said patients have seen success already.
Ultimately, Dr. Clark said his goal is to promote better overall health.
"If they're healthier, if they're able to get out and enjoy their children and their grand children in their lives I don't even care if they've lost a single pound, then we've made a good impact on someone's life," Dr. Clark said.