Orbera Gastric Balloon
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Orbera®?
The Orbera® Gastric balloon is a nonsurgical weight loss procedure where a soft silicone balloon is temporarily placed in a patient’s stomach and inflated with a saline solution.
WHEN WAS THE ORBERA® BALLOON FDA APPROVED?
Gastric balloons have been used to help people lose weight for over 20 years. The Orbera® balloon was FDA approved in the United States in 2015.
HOW IS THE ORBERA® BALLOON PLACED IN A PATIENT’S STOMACH?
In the procedure room, the doctor (bariatric endoscopist) will sedate the patient and then use a tool called an endoscope to guide the deflated balloon through the mouth and into the patient’s stomach. An endoscope is a thin tube-like instrument that has a camera on the end. With the help of the camera, the doctor is able to guide and strategically place the balloon into the correct location where it is filled with saline. Placement of the Orbera® balloon does not require an overnight hospital stay and patients are discharged to go home the same day.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PLACE THE ORBERA® BALLOON?
It takes about 15-20 minutes to insert the Orbera balloon into the stomach and fill it with saline. It takes about 20 minutes to deflate and remove the balloon six months after it is placed.
HOW DOES THE ORBERA® BALLOON PROCEDURE DIFFER FROM BARIATRIC WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?
The Orbera® balloon procedure does not make any permanent changes to the stomach or digestive system and the Orbera® balloon is placed under mild sedation. The body mass index (BMI) qualifications for the Orbera® balloon are lower than that of bariatric surgery, so patients who only have 20 – 50 pounds to lose can take advantage of this weight loss tool. There is no overnight stay required and recovery is minimal compared to bariatric surgery. The Orbera® balloon is placed in the patient’s stomach for six months and then removed. This helps patients learn portion control and make behavioral changes during the six months that will be continued after the balloon is removed. Bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or the surgical gastric sleeve, results in permanent changes to the patient’s stomach and digestive system. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and generally requires a few days in the hospital after the operation. It takes longer for the stomach to recover from bariatric surgery, therefore patients must adhere to the post-surgical liquid diet for a longer time before starting solid food.
HOW DOES THE ORBERA® BALLOON HELP PATIENTS LOSE WEIGHT?
The soft silicone Orbera® balloon is filled with saline to about the size of a grapefruit which will occupy space in the patient’s stomach. This will prevent the patient from eating too much in one sitting. The patient will ingest fewer calories and feel full for a longer period of time, which leads to weight loss. Patients who have the Orbera gastric balloon placed participate in our supervised weight loss and Steps lifestyle program for at least one full year from the time the balloon is placed. Patients receive ongoing support and guidance as they learn how to make and implement long-term healthy lifestyle choices that support weight loss maintenance.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE THE ORBERA® GASTRIC BALLOON IN YOUR STOMACH?
Patients have reported feeling like they have just eaten a large meal the after the Orbera® balloon was initially placed, but after several weeks it was much less noticeable.
CAN ANYONE TELL THAT I HAVE THE ORBERA® BALLOON IN MY STOMACH?
No, there will not be any outwardly visible signs or protrusion caused by the Orbera® balloon because the balloon is not that large.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT WILL I GET AFTER the balloon is placed?
After the balloon placement you will have access to various sources of support, including our clinical team, a personalized lifestyle expert for 12 months (included in the cost), and resources to a community of patients who had the same procedure.
Does Health Insurance Cover the Orbera® Balloon Procedure?
Currently, gastric balloon weight loss procedures like Orbera® are not covered by insurance plans.