New weight loss procedure with results as dramatic as 12 pounds a week

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There's a new way to trim the fat. No, we are not talking about the turkey, we are talking about your waistline.

It is probably not something you want to think about right before you serve up your Thanksgiving plate, but we found an amazing new weight loss procedure that could have you slimmed down by Christmas.

You could see results as dramatic as 12 pounds in one week! Rhonda Hickman did, and she is sharing her experience.

Hickman had tried just about every fad diet you think of, as well as exercise.

"I've done weight watchers, I've done low fat, high protein diets. I have done weight loss pills, but they have always... the weight's always seemed to come back," said Hickman.

So this time around, she's going a different route.

It's called Orbera. It's designed to help folks like Hickman who would like to lose between 40 and 100 pounds, or maybe more, but don't want invasive surgery or down time.

Hickman is among the first in the country to try it, but that does not bother her. She invited us along to see how it works.

"I'm not a Guinea Pig by any means. I mean, this has been proven, and I've done my research," Hickman said.

Dr. Keith's Wellness Clinic in Norman is the first in Oklahoma, and in the U.S., to offer Orbera.

Dr. Ronnie Keith places it in Hickman's tummy using a scope, no cutting involved. The he expands it to about the size of a grapefruit. It looks like a water balloon when it's full.

"It kind of feels like you've had a partial Thanksgiving dinner all the time", says Dr. Keith.

The Norman doctor explains that feeling full all the time helps you eat less, and the pounds melt off.

Dr. Keith has been studying Orbera's progress for years as it was introduced in Europe. 220,000 inter-gastric balloons have been placed worldwide and led to successful weight loss.

When it was approved for use here in the U.S., the Oklahoma physician spent thousands of dollars to equip a special room at his clinic just to perform the procedure.

"We'll provide good results. The FDA trials show a 40 percent loss of excess body weight at six months. That's exceptionally good," Keith said.

So how did Hickman do?

She lost twelve pounds the first week after the procedure! At two weeks, she looks noticeably different. Her face is thinner and her tummy is flatter.

At one month, sixteen pounds gone, and she is down two dress sizes!

Hickman says the best part is seeing the looks on friend's faces when they see her, some failing to recognize her.

"There was a lady that I hadn't seen in awhile, and she started walking toward me, and I started talking. She said, 'I thought... I didn't realize that was you! I thought it was you, you look like her,'" laughed Hickman.

And now that she is thinner, the transformation is not over. Dr. Keith and his staff will monitor Hickman's progress.

"So you incorporate the behavior, the dietary changes, the exercise changes, plus there's gotta be motivation by the patient," said Dr. Keith.

For Hickman, her motivation is keeping up with her young daughter. She admits the attention from her husband is pretty nice, too.

"My hope is that this will teach me some better ways of managing my weight and increasing my exercise," said a visibly happy Hickman.

The Orbera balloon is not permanent. It is removed from the patient after six months, again using a scope.

Dr. Keith says studies have shown that patients only gain back about six percent of the weight they lost in the months that follow.

Also, Orbera is currently not covered by health insurance. Dr. Keith charges about $5,800 to perform the procedure from start to finish. The price includes after care, and advice on how to keep the weight off for good.

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