5 April, 2024

Swallowable Balloon For Weight Loss

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you are sure to understand how challenging an undertaking can be. If you try the traditional route, you are pretty much on your own from start to finish. First, it is nearly impossible to choose a diet from the hundreds you will find. Next, how do you know which diet will work best? Then, what is the best way to start an exercise plan? Which exercises are the best, and how do you know which ones will work best for your circumstances? Most individuals who attempt to lose weight using these methods are not successful; they become frustrated and give up.

Many of these individuals require some type of help to effectively lose weight because, once someone reaches a certain BMI, it becomes almost impossible for them to lose weight without some type of medical intervention. When weight loss patients hear the words “medical intervention,” most immediately think of bariatric surgery, but statistics have shown us that 99% of them are not interested in pursuing that avenue.

Today, these patients have other options that do not require surgery but are a safe and effective means to lose weight. One of these options is called an intragastric weight loss balloon. We get questions from patients all the time about these nifty medical balloons, so today, we would like to clear up some confusion about how you swallow a balloon for weight loss.

Is There Such A Thing As A Swallowable Balloon For Weight Loss?

The answer to this is a little tricky, and that is where the confusion comes in. There literally was, but now there is not. However, it can be confusing because the balloons on the market today do enter the stomach via the mouth and throat, so technically, you could say they are also gastric balloons that you swallow. It all depends on how you look at it. Keep reading to learn more details.

The Obalon System: Gastric Balloons You Swallow

In September 2016, a weight loss balloon system was FDA-approved called the Obalon system. It was a series of three balloons that were introduced to the patient’s stomach over a period of three months (an additional balloon was added each month).

Each balloon was encased in a small capsule and was literally a swallowable balloon. There was no sedation required, and the patient would swallow the capsule with water or applesauce.

Then, the position of the gastric balloon that you swallowed was tracked using X-ray imaging. It was important to verify that it was in the correct location before attempting to inflate it with the attached catheter. Once verified, this swallowable balloon was inflated with gas to take up room in the stomach. This process was repeated two more times over the next few months to add the other two balloons to the stomach.

When the balloons needed to be removed (usually after six months) an endoscopic procedure was performed while the patient was under conscious sedation. A specially trained gastroenterologist would lower a special tool called an endoscope down the patient’s throat. The endoscope, which looks a bit like a thin hollow hose and has a camera attached to one end, would allow other instruments to pass through and deflate and retrieve the balloons.

The Obalon balloon system was taken off the market in 2020 and has not been commercially available since that time.

Is Orbera A Swallowable Balloon For Weight Loss?

As we stated earlier, installing an Orbera balloon into a patient’s stomach does not involve any surgery or incisions. The balloon is placed into the patient’s stomach using an endoscope similar to the removal process described above, but when installing the balloon, it would be lowered down in a deflated state and then filled with sterile saline. The camera provides real-time video of the balloon’s journey as it travels down the patient’s throat and into their stomach, so repeated X-rays are not needed to know when the balloon has reached its correct destination. So in a sense, the Orbera is a gastric balloon that you swallow with the assistance of a gastroenterologist.

Orbera gastric balloon

What Are The Mechanics Behind The Stomach Balloon?

Whether you swallow a balloon for weight loss or it is placed in your stomach by a gastroenterologist, its purpose is to occupy space and take up a large portion of the capacity. This regulates your portion sizes and prevents you from eating too much food. The presence of the balloon also helps you continuously feel like you have just eaten, so you do not feel hungry as often.

For the six months that it is inside, it helps you eat less but also allows you time to go through the 12-month program that is part of a gastric balloon weight loss plan. This guided plan is very helpful to many because they do not feel like they are on their own and they receive a high level of support.

During this time, you learn helpful strategies that you can apply to real-life situations to overcome challenges and stay on track. You will receive help from an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach on menu planning and guidance with your fitness goals. Once the removal has taken place, you continue to follow your plan for the remaining six months. The goal is to replace poor eating habits with healthy ones and make permanent changes to your lifestyle, such as healthier eating and daily exercise, which leads to sustainable weight loss.

Where Can I Learn More About Losing Weight With A Balloon?

Using a weight loss balloon can give you the extra help you need to finally succeed at losing weight. Following the accompanying program can teach you life skills that will improve your health and promote a healthy weight over the long term.

At our Miami weight loss clinic, we recognize the complexities of weight loss, which is why we craft an individualized plan for each patient. We understand that everyone responds differently to various weight loss strategies, and external influences or underlying conditions can impede or even halt your progress. Using a non-surgical weight loss tool such as a gastric balloon may be just what you need to overcome the challenges you have had in the past so you can reach your weight loss goals.

Set up a consultation with us today to learn about your options for safe, effective, sustainable weight loss.

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