1 October, 2023

What Is The Bariatric Balloon Procedure?

Since the early 1980s, instances of obesity have more than doubled across the globe. One-third of adults are estimated to be overweight or obese, which comes to close to 1.4 billion individuals. Considering the epidemic prevalence of this situation and the incremental increase in obesity-related health conditions, there is an increasingly urgent need for safe and effective treatment.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable premature death from any cause, including conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, severe sleep apnea, diabetes, and others.

Today, we are going to look at one potential solution to treat obesity, known as the bariatric gastric balloon. Although these balloons have been around for many years, many individuals were not aware that they were a viable option for weight loss, and surgery was typically the only option presented to obese individuals who desired to lose weight. Recently, bariatric balloons like the Orbera have been commanding attention on social media and in the news.

Weight Loss Options Are Changing

Although weight loss surgery is widely regarded as the most effective method for treating morbid obesity, statistics show that only 1 person out of every 100 chooses to undergo surgery to treat their disease.

Additionally, there are certain requirements that an individual must meet before they can be considered a prospect for this type of medical intervention. Individuals must meet certain BMI criteria to be considered for bariatric procedures such as gastric bypass, duodenal switch, or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

Using the globally recognized standard body mass index (BMI) scale, an individual must have a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health complications or a BMI of 40 or higher to satisfy the basic criteria for surgery.

The preoperative criteria stated above exclude a significant number of individuals as surgical candidates; however, these same people have experienced unsuccessful outcomes from alternate weight loss efforts. Also, in some cases, the criteria require the patient’s BMI and obesity levels to increase substantially before they qualify for help instead of being proactive in getting their weight under control to prevent additional health concerns.

Patients today are seeking less invasive forms of weight-loss assistance that are safe and effective. They want options with lower risk factors and ones that do not require extended recovery times. The majority of average Americans do not have the financial means to take six to eight weeks off from work without pay.

How Is A Bariatric Balloon Different From Surgery?

A bariatric balloon procedure is designed to help jumpstart an individual’s weight loss. This type of weight loss program is fairly straightforward and requires a 12-month commitment from the patient.

At the start of the program, a soft bariatric balloon made of silicone is deposited into the patient’s stomach during an endoscopic procedure. This type of procedure does not require incisions but uses a special tool that is lowered down a patient’s throat to access their stomach.

The deflated balloon is then filled with saline solution until it takes on a spherical shape and occupies a significant amount of space in the stomach. The average person’s stomach can hold about 5 cups, but an obese person’s stomach can be stretched to hold as much as 15 cups. A bariatric gastric balloon filled with about a cup and a half of liquid can take up enough space to provide an ongoing feeling of satiety. The presence of the filled bariatric balloon also delays gastric emptying, resulting in slower digestion of food in the stomach.

The procedure is performed as an outpatient and takes less than thirty minutes, allowing patients to go home the same day their bariatric balloon is placed.

Research has shown that sustainable weight loss is only achieved through permanent lifestyle modifications. These elements are addressed as part of the year-long bariatric balloon program.

Many patients do not possess a significant understanding of the biology behind how their bodies facilitate weight gain or loss.   Furthermore, they may lack knowledge of the importance of nutrition and other components that promote maintaining a healthy weight. While the bariatric gastric balloon only remains in the stomach for half the year, the patient works with a host of professionals to receive comprehensive coaching and support to address these issues for the entirety of the year.

They receive guidance related to nutrition, healthy food choices, exercise, behavior modification, and emotional support that is tailored to meet the needs of their specific circumstances.

Utilizing a temporary weight loss tool such as a bariatric balloon versus surgery can help patients experience significant weight loss without making any permanent changes to their stomach or digestive system. Additionally, they do not experience the complications or recovery time associated with a traditional bariatric surgical procedure.

Sustainable Weight Loss Through Non-Invasive Procedures Is Predicted To Grow

When you look at bariatric surgery statistics, you will learn that almost half of the individuals who undergo surgery to help them lose weight experience weight gains of between 35% and 100% over the subsequent years. The reasons behind this are most often related to lack of patient compliance.

Just like any other tool, the amount of weight that can be lost using a bariatric balloon is dependent upon how committed the patient is to making the necessary lifestyle changes and sticking with them.

Experts predict that by 2028, the bariatric balloon market will have increased by more than 13%. A growing market for bariatric balloon procedures makes sense when you consider the following four elements:

  • The magnitude of the growing rate of obesity
  • The fact that more people are learning they have alternative options for weight loss other than surgery
  • For many years, there has been a significant gap preventing many people from receiving the assistance they require, and there has been a growing demand for less invasive options that promote weight loss.
  • The lower overall costs when comparing a bariatric balloon to surgery

Factors That May Be Slowing Down Adoption Rates Of Bariatric Balloons

Some of the disadvantages that the bariatric balloon is challenged with are that

  • Many people are unaware of this option.
  • Some patients do not tolerate the balloon well and suffer from chronic nausea, which requires the early removal of the device.
  • The procedure is self-paying. To date, insurance carriers have not looked at the bariatric balloon as a serious option that can help treat obesity.

Where Can I Find Out If I Am A Candidate For A Bariatric Balloon?

If you desire to find out more about bariatric weight loss balloons, contact Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions and set up a consultation. We offer the Orbera bariatric balloon to our patients because of its long history of safety and efficacy.

The Orbera device and accompanying supervised twelve-month program have demonstrated that patients can lose three times as much weight as with traditional weight loss methods alone. We invite you to take a look at success stories that demonstrate the weight loss potential of the bariatric balloon procedure.

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