WHAT IS A GASTRIC BALLOON?
A gastric balloon is a non-surgical and short-term (temporary) weight loss device. A smooth, soft saline-filled balloon (about the size of an grapefruit) is placed in your stomach, allowing you to control your portion sizes by filling space in your stomach. By following professional health and wellness advice, you can adopt good healthy eating habits and change your lifestyle so you can lose weight quickly and keep it off long term.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN I LOSE WITH ORBERA?
Weight loss is rapid, with most weight loss occurring in the first 3-4 months. It is important for you to understand that the balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and must be used in conjunction with diet, exercise, and a behavior modification program. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes. Clinical studies have shown that people lost an average of 13% of their body weight at 6 months. On average, patients lost 3.1x the weight of those that were on a diet and exercise program alone.
HOW DO GASTRIC BALLOONS HELP PEOPLE LOSE WEIGHT?
Once in place, the gastric balloon is filled with saline to partially fill the stomach so that they may consume smaller portions of food. Most weight is lost in the first three months, but because the gastric balloon stays in for six months, you will learn the right amount of food to eat to maintain your new weight long term.
DO I QUALIFY FOR ORBERA?
To qualify for Orbera, you must be an adult, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 to 40, and be willing to participate in a medically supervised program. You do not qualify for Orbera if you have had prior stomach or bariatric surgery, including hiatal hernia repair, lap band, or gastric bypass. You do not qualify for Orbera if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
DOES INSURANCE COVER IT?
Insurance does NOT cover the ORBERA balloon, but we do offer financing options.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
Both the balloon insertion and removal take approximately 20 minutes.
HOW IS THE BALLOON DIFFERENT THAN BARIATRIC SURGERY?
Orbera is a non-surgical weight loss procedure, which means no incisions, stitches, or scars. The procedure does not alter your anatomy. It is an outpatient procedure that takes about 20 minutes; people go home the same day. It is typically performed under sedation, not general anesthesia (no breathing machine is required). And, importantly, the balloon is in place only temporarily, as opposed to permanent surgical alterations.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE THE BALLOON IN THERE?
Many people say it feels like they have eaten a large meal immediately after the procedure.In the first few days after placement, your body adjusts to the balloon. You might feel sick for a few days as you get used to the balloon, but your doctor can prescribe medication that will help you proactively manage these symptoms. After a few weeks, the ability to “tell” where the balloon is goes away. It is not noticeable during exercise, and it is not visible from the outside.
HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO COME IN TO THE OFFICE AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
Your physician will see you approximately 1-2 weeks after your balloon is placed. You will meet with your dietitian once a month for the entire 12-month treatment program. These sessions are typically conducted via secure video conference (telemedicine) from the comfort of your home. Your physician will be available to see you throughout the treatment period, though we do not require office visits on a set schedule.
WILL I GAIN THE WEIGHT BACK AFTER REMOVING THE ORBERA BALLOON?
Published clinical studies of Orbera have shown that, provided you keep to the prescribed diet and exercise regime, you will maintain weight loss through dieting post-removal. So, if you stick to your new, healthy lifestyle you will be well on the way to maintaining your weight loss.
ARE GASTRIC BALLOONS SAFE?
Gastric balloons have been used in the management of obesity for over 20 years. Over this time they have evolved in shape, size, and design resulting in a modern, durable product, which is now well established as a safe weight loss procedure. Nearly 300,000 Orbera balloons have been distributed worldwide.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE GASTRIC BALLOON?
It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach will cause nausea or vomiting after placement. In some patients it may last one to two weeks. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help minimize these potential effects. You will need to immediately contact your doctor for any severe or unusual symptoms. The risk of a serious side effect is about 1 in 10,000. Potential serious side effects include stomach ulceration, balloon deflation, bowel obstruction, intestinal perforation, and death.
CAN THE BALLOON INJURE MY STOMACH?
The Orbera balloon is constructed from a very smooth and soft silicone material to minimize the risk of irritating the stomach wall. You will also be prescribed medicines that will reduce the acidity in your stomach and help protect your stomach wall. Patients with prior stomach surgery are not eligible for the procedure because of a higher risk of the balloon causing a perforation in the stomach. Some patients without prior stomach surgery have also had stomach perforations but this is typically following extended periods of side effects. Patients should be advised to immediately contact their physician for any unusually severe, worsening, or recurrent symptoms lasting longer than two weeks.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ORBERA BALLOON LEAKS OR DEFLATES IN THE STOMACH?
Orbera has been reviewed in over 250 published global clinical papers, and a balloon deflation or leak is a very rare event. However, if the balloon should spontaneously deflate, you may no longer feel full after eating. If you suspect this may be the case, notify your doctor immediately. A simple abdominal x-ray can determine whether either has occurred. If it has, your doctor will arrange to remove the deflated balloon.
HOW MANY BALLOONS HAVE DEFLATED IN THE STOMACH?
Balloon deflation is a rare event, typically related to a balloon that has been in the stomach for over 6 months. This event is estimated to occur in less than 0.3% of patients (3 out of every 1000 patients). You will be required to have the balloon removed at 6 months.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT THE BALLOON HAS DEFLATED?
In the unlikely event that your Orbera balloon should deflate, you may no longer feel full after eating. If the balloon were to leave your stomach and enter the small intestine, you could develop symptoms of bowel obstruction, including pain, nausea, and vomiting. If you suspect this may be the case, notify your doctor immediately. A simple abdominal x-ray can determine whether this has occurred. If it has, your doctor will arrange to remove the deflated balloon.