ORBERA Gastric Balloon (Intragastric Balloon)

The ORBERA Gastric Balloon is a new weight loss option. It’s a non-surgical and non-invasive procedure. If you’re overweight and tired of trying to lose weight without success, then this might be an option.

As the name implies, a balloon is fitted to reduce the storage capacity of the stomach. Aimed at bringing the optimum health and fitness to your life, the OBERA Gastric Balloon is best suited for those people who want to lose their extra body weight without undergoing any surgery or special interventions. It’s also a highly suitable procedure for those with BMI below 35. However, it is not an option for those with morbid obesity.

The ORBERA balloon is soft, composed of silicone and filled with a saline solution. It is usually placed in the stomach for a period of about six months. The balloon is intended to moderately fill the stomach and thus enables you to achieve satiety earlier. The main aim is to make a person feels less hungry, therefore eat less and lose weight easily. Limiting the amount of food we consume is very tough and that’s the main reason behind weight gain. The ORBERA Gastric Balloon works on this main issue and makes a person feel less hungry and the fitting is easily performed.

Indications For ORBERA Gastric Balloon

  • People who want to lose 15 to 25lb of their total body weight
  • People with BMI 27 or higher

Contraindications For ORBERA Gastric Balloon

  • Gastric discomfort
  • Gastroesophageal reflex disease
  • Gastric cancer
  • In case adverse health consequences occur as a result of weight loss

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The Procedure

This procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthesia. The Orbera Balloon is placed – with the help of an endoscope – into the stomach. The balloon is passed through the mouth down to the oesophagus to reach the stomach. At first the balloon is deflated but as soon as it reaches the stomach, it is inflated by pouring in the saline solution. It remains there for a period of six months and it floats within the stomach. The balloon acts like an artificial bezoar and thus floats freely.

Gastroscopy is carried out just before the insertion of a balloon. It is done to ensure that there is no problem or contraindication in placing the balloon within the stomach.  Around 400ml to 700ml of saline solution is poured into the balloon and that helps in reducing the capacity of the stomach to store food. Thus, it ensures less eating, early fullness and a desired reduction in weight. The overall time for performing this procedure is only 20 to 30 minutes. It’s a day-procedure and no hospital stay is required. In most cases patients go home on the same day.

After this procedure, the patient will be advised of certain dietary and lifestyle modifications. Also, it does not require the taking of long-term medications.

The maximum time of its placement is 6 months and it should be immediately removed after that time, to prevent any complications.

Risks and Complications

The risk and complications that may be associated with ORBERA gastric balloon include:

Intestinal obstruction

This occurs when the balloon is not sufficiently inflated or when leakage occurs from it. The leak fluid then passes from the stomach to the intestine and causes perforation there. It requires immediate medical attention.

Obstruction of the oesophagus

This can occur if the balloon pushes back into the oesophagus. In this case surgery is needed or it can be removed endoscopically.

Poor outcomes

In some people, an immediate weight loss programme can lead to drastic complications in the patient who has undergone the procedure. It is therefore advisable to consider this option thoroughly.

Bacterial Growth

Though, saline is an antiseptic agent, if leakage occurs into the intestine, this can lead to increased risk of infection and its subsequent complications. Usually fever occurs along with the generalized body malaise and discomfort.

These are some of the risks and complications noted so far. Unexpected complications can sometimes occur after this procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. How much will I lose weight after this procedure?

A. Studies have indicated that a person can lose weight around 20% of their body weight within 6 months of its use. However, it depends on the person and his/her lifestyle and dietary habits.

Q. What will happen if I overeat after this procedure?

A. Overeating may prove dangerous and can lead to vomiting. So it is advisable to eat within a limit. Due to the placement of the balloon, you will achieve satiety earlier.

Q. What is the recovery time after balloon insertion?

A. As a patient, you are asked to avoid any kind of strenuous activity for at least 5 days. You will be able to recommence normal activity depending on your body’s adjustment to the balloon.

Q. Will people know that I am having a balloon in my stomach?

A. It is impossible for others to know. Since no surgery is carried out, there will be no evident marks or scars.

Q. Is it possible that I will gain weight again after the balloon removal?

A. This totally depends on you and your dietary/other habits. If you eat in moderation and enjoy regular physical activity, then your weight can be maintained.

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