Jessica Shannon has wowed fans with her weight loss transformation. Now her Beverly Hills plastic surgeon is breaking down why the procedure she chose works.
A gastric balloon inserted into her stomach has helped Jessica Shannon, 23, lose 50 pounds in just over a month. The Mama June: Family Crisis star explained to HollywoodLife in March why she opted for that weight loss solution despite being “real scared” of going under the knife. “I think the part with getting the gastric sleeve or the gastric bypass was just the fact that they’re taking some of your stomach away,” Jessica said. “With this, it’s just basically the balloon in your stomach.”
With these words the reality TV star is echoing Dr. Michael K. Obeng – the Beverly Hills based plastic surgeon who steered the life-changing procedures that involved getting a tummy tuck, liposuction and a gastric balloon all in one day. It was actually his colleague Dr. Samuel Kashani who inserted the device into Jessica’s body, through her esophagus. “It’s a balloon that’s deployed, through an endoscope,” Dr. Obeng tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “[We] put a little tiny camera, the size of a charger, like an iPhone charger, the cord. We put a cord through your throat, down all the way into your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.”
The doctors then examine the lining of the patient’s stomach to check that there are no ulcers or disease. “Once we do that then we deploy the balloon,” Dr. Obeng says. “We put a balloon through the little tiny thing like a parachute. Then, when we get down to the stomach, we open it up. The whole idea behind it is to block the stomach. It’s very constrictive.”
Dr. Obeng explains the science behind the balloon, saying, “The lining of the stomach [is] connected with all these little tiny nerves. The way our body tells us when we are full is, when we eat, the nerves stretch out and then…send the feedback to our brain that, ‘Hey, I’m full. Don’t feed me anymore.’ Once the balloon is there, you won’t have a few [nerve] cells to activate, so you don’t have to eat much to activate those cells to tell your brain that you are full.” The doctor likens it to putting a perfume box inside of a shoebox. “Now your shoebox is like 60 percent less in terms of volume,” Dr. Obeng says.
The procedure has clearly worked for Jessica. On the day of the surgery she weighed 246 pounds. She lost 15 pounds that day, just from the tummy tuck and the liposuction. By late March 2020, she was down roughly 50 pounds. “With the balloon I have found out that I do get full quick,” she said, before adding that it takes as little as a cup of soup to fill her up.
Dr. Obeng says that the balloon is not a permanent fixture. “If it stays in your stomach too much it can cause atrophy, meaning thinning of the stomach lining,” he says. “So, it’s only there for six months. We don’t leave it in.” He adds, “After we take it out, your body doesn’t know because you are used to eating little portions, and that’s the beauty of it.” Jessica is confident that, once her balloon is removed, her new healthy eating and portion control habits will remain. “My body’s going to be so used to it by then,” she said. “I’ll be fine.”