ORBERA® Intra-Gastric Balloon

What is the ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss Program?

ORBERA-In-StomachThe ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss Program is a medical procedure for weight loss that focuses on developing long-term, sustainable, healthy habits. The comprehensive, two-part program starts with a soft, intra-gastric balloon placed into your stomach for six months to encourage portion control.

The second part of the program is very important because it helps you maintain the weight loss. We will work with you to guide you through the process of developing a healthy, balanced diet and support you in making healthy lifestyle choices.

ORBERA® is indicated for a BMI of 27 kg/m2 and above.

How do I lose weight with the ORBERA® Balloon?

An ORBERA® gastric balloon is a non-surgical, temporary device which is placed in your stomach for 6 months to assist you with your weight loss. The balloon is made of a durable silicone material and is latex free. It works by taking up space in your stomach. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise the balloon helps control portion sizes and facilitates weight loss. The balloon assists with weight loss via three potential mechanisms:

  1. Delayed Gastric Emptying: After 2 hours over 60% of food remains in the stomach (normally less than 25% is retained).
  2. Gastric Volume Reduction: As the balloon takes up space, the volume available to fill with food is decreased.
  3. Baroreceptor stimulation: ‘Stretch’ receptors in the stomach are easily triggered with the balloon in place. These receptors signal the brain to initiate feelings of fullness.

Weight loss occurs in four phases across the six month program:

Acclimation:  Significant weight loss occurs in the first two weeks as your mind and body get used to the balloon.

Optimal Effectiveness: From three to sixteen weeks you will be motivated by continued weight loss. This is the time to focus on increasing physical activity and following the nutritional advice of your dietitian.

New Lifestyle: You will note decreasing weight loss prior to balloon removal at six months. Although you will still be losing weight it will be at a slower rate.  This is the time to establish healthy lifestyle changes in preparation for balloon removal. Developing healthy habits at this stage will help you keep your weight off in the long term.

Healthy Living:  After the balloon is removed you will focus on maintaining a healthy diet and activity levels. You will work with your dietitian in developing strategies for ongoing weight loss and maintenance.

How much weight will I lose with the ORBERA® Balloon?

Clinical evidence suggests an average of 10-15kg in 6 months, however this is dependent on the patients’ starting weight and how well they adapt to the lifestyle changes. Your success depends on whether you make the necessary dietary and lifestyle adjustments and how well you apply them. After 12 months with the two-part program, patients lost over 3 times the weight of diet and exercise strategies alone.

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure is performed via a gastroscopy under light sedation, in which the balloon is inserted into your stomach via your mouth. Immediately after the balloon is placed and is filled with sterile salt water, you will regain complete awareness and remain in the clinic for observation until the doctor discharges you. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes and you will be able to go home the same day.

After 6 months, the intra-gastric balloon is removed through the mouth in a similar manner, under the same supervised conditions. Your support team will continue to guide you toward making healthy lifestyle choices.

How long does it take to recover after the procedure?

You should plan at least three days of inactivity to recover from the procedure.  You will be able to resume normal activity sooner or later depending on how quickly your body adjusts to the balloon. The first few days following insertion of the ORBERA® intragastric balloon can be challenging. As the stomach adjusts to the balloon you may feel discomfort and experience nausea, vomiting, cramping or heartburn. These side effects are temporary and you will be prescribed medication to help manage them.

Is the ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss Program proven?

The system has been evaluated in over 230 global clinical studies showing an average weight loss of 10-15kg in the 6-month time frame. There has been over 220,000 procedures performed worldwide across 20 years, and with ORBERA®, 70 to 80 percent of weight loss typically occurs during the first three months of treatment. Having a team of experts to help you overcome the challenges of retraining your appetite, adopting new dietary habits, and establishing a reasonable exercise routine will be essential to meet your long-term weight loss goals.

Are there side effects or complications with the balloon?

Cramping, nausea, reflux and vomiting are common symptoms though generally not harmful.  For most these are mild to moderate in severity. Please use recommended medications and the initial liquid diet to alleviate side effects until they subside, typically within three days to a week. If you experience persistent problems follow the guidance of the medical team and drink plenty of fluids.

Will I be able to feel the gastric balloon in my stomach?

There is often some discomfort during the first few days. After that, the primary sensation is feeling satisfied or full after eating or drinking.

Are there any foods I should avoid with a gastric balloon?

You may find it difficult to tolerate some foods and this varies from person to person. Common foods known to cause problems may be dry meat, soft white bread, stringy or very fibrous vegetables, sweet corn, peas, nuts, dried fruit, pips and seeds. Avoid these until you have established yourself on your solid diet and always try foods cautiously. If you don’t tolerate a food, try it again in a few weeks’ time. There is a lot of adaptation in the first few months. It is highly likely you will manage most foods with time.

Can I drink alcohol with a gastric balloon?

It is not recommended that you drink alcohol for the first three months after your procedure and you may feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than before. Take special care when driving as it may affect your legal limit and reaction speed.  Alcohol is very high in calories (particularly alco-pops and stronger wines or lagers) and contains no nutrients. It can also stimulate appetite which is another reason not to drink frequently.

Can I drink carbonated beverages after the procedure?

We advise against carbonated drinks in the first few weeks after the procedure. Carbonation initially causes gastric irritation and can stretch your stomach causing you to overeat. Many patients experience discomfort from the gas. It is recommended that you avoid fizzy drinks, beer, champagne, or sparkling water.  An exception to this having a sip of sparkling water to combat the effects of bad breath as a result of food getting ‘stuck’ on the balloon.

Will I need to take vitamins after my procedure?

Whilst it is not essential, you may wish to take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement in the initial period after your procedure. The reason for this is that during this time you may only manage very small portions and your diet may not be able to provide all the nutrients that you require. As you progress through the stages and start to get into a routine with your meals you should no longer need this supplementation. See section on Vitamin and Mineral supplements.

How do Gastric Balloons compare to diet and exercise or other weight loss programs?

You can expect to lose three times the weight with a gastric balloon than you would with diet and exercise alone. Many diet programs are difficult to maintain and you can struggle with feeling hungry.  With a gastric balloon you eat smaller meals as balloon takes up space in your stomach. You are more in control of your appetite, learn portion control and make healthy changes in your eating habits.

What’s the difference between a gastric balloon and a gastric bypass?

A gastric balloon is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a saline-filled balloon into the stomach. The balloon is left in the stomach for six months and helps to reduce the amount of food that a person can eat. A gastric bypass is a more permanent procedure that involves surgically re-routing the digestive system to bypass a portion of the stomach and small intestine. This helps to reduce the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body. Both procedures can be effective for weight loss, but the gastric balloon is a less permanent and less risky option.