Orbera® Gastric Balloon
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Orbera® Gastric Balloon?
Orbera® balloon is a non-surgical option used to help individuals lose weight. It consists of a silicone balloon that is inflated once placed in the patient’s stomach and helps with portion control. The patient is not able to eat as much in one meal because the balloon is taking up space and the patient feels “full” for longer periods.
Who is a candidate for the Orbera Gastric Balloon?
You may be a candidate for the gastric balloon if you:
- Are 18+ years of age.
- Have a BMI of at least 27.
- Do not wish to have bariatric surgery.
- Will commit to ongoing lifestyle changes necessary.
- Are obese and in poor health so surgery is not an option.
- Are willing to actively participate in the required 12-month program.
Who is not a candidate for Orbera?
You may not be a candidate for Orbera if:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Need anti-inflammatory medication every day.
- You have undergone other stomach alterations or surgeries such as bariatric surgery or hernia repair.
Will my health insurance cover Orbera® Procedure?
At this time, Orbera® gastric balloon procedures are not covered by insurance, IBI Healthcare Institute offers patient financing options to qualifying individuals.
Why doesn’t insurance cover the Orbera Gastric Balloon?
As a rule, it takes insurance companies a significant amount of time to approve and embrace new procedures.
Although weight loss is proven to reduce weight-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, and the costs associated with healthcare and medication, the Orbera® gastric balloon is currently not covered by insurance plans.
How long has the Orbera® Balloon Procedure been around?
The Orbera® balloon procedure was approved by the FDA In August 2015.
How long does the Orbera® Balloon Procedure take?
It only takes about 20 minutes to place and inflate the balloon or to deflate and remove the balloon.
How is the Orbera® Balloon different from Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric Surgery makes permanent changes to the stomach and often the digestive system. The Orbera® balloon is used only temporarily for six months to help patients learn portion control and make lifestyle changes that hopefully become long-term habits.
Orbera® does not require any alterations to the digestive system and the procedure takes place under sedation and not general anesthesia like bariatric surgery would require.
Orbera® is a quick, same-day procedure, there is no hospital stay required, and recovery is much quicker than bariatric surgery.
How often are follow-up visits required after Orbera® Procedure?
The specific program and follow-up schedule will vary by patient and some patients may have a few different professionals they are working with such as a nutritionist, physical fitness coach, emotional support, etc.
Usually, patients meet with the doctor in person approximately one to two weeks after the balloon is placed. Your doctor is available to you throughout the entire process and telehealth visits can be arranged if necessary.
Patients will meet with their nutritionist/dietician each month for the entire program. These “meetings” can be in person or virtual.
What does the Orbera® Gastric Balloon feel like?
Most patients say having a gastric balloon in their stomach feels like they have just eaten a big meal and they are full.
Some patients have reported that they were able to tell where the balloon was for the first few weeks but after that, the sensation went away.
Will anyone know I have a Gastric Balloon?
The balloon is not large enough to be visible from the outside. No one will be able to tell that you have a balloon in your stomach.
What are the side effects of the Orbera® Balloon?
Some patients experience nausea and vomiting or cramping for 2-3 days after the Orbera® balloon is placed. This discomfort will dissipate when the stomach gets used to the balloon.
How much weight can I lose with the Orbera® Balloon?
The average weight loss for a gastric balloon is between 30 and 50 pounds however there have been patients who have lost as much as 126 pounds!
The amount of weight an individual can lose is dependent on how much weight they have to lose and how motivated they are to adhere to the lifestyle changes needed to facilitate the weight loss.
Weight loss is usually fast in the first few months after the insertion of the balloon. Maintaining weight loss will take behavior modification and long-term commitment.
What happens after the Gastric Balloon is removed?
The Orbera® balloon is removed after 6 months but the patient’s commitment continues forever. For the next six months, the patient remains in the support program and continues to meet with their dietician every month and any other professionals that are part of their customized program.
Most patients continue to lose weight for up to 3 months after the balloon has been removed. Then it is a matter of continuing to adhere to the behavioral changes they made in order to maintain their weight loss and have long-term success. Most patients are successful in turning their behavior modifications into permanent lifestyle choices and they maintain their weight loss.
What happens if I don’t lose the amount of weight I planned on or if my weight loss stalls while I have Orbera®?
Your progress will be monitored closely for the entire duration of your Orbera® treatment (12 months) to make sure that your weight loss is progressing as it should.
If your weight loss is slower than usual or stalls out, the IBI Healthcare team will re-evaluate and may make changes to your program to help get things back on track. Sometimes, the doctor recommends weight loss medications that can be used in conjunction with the balloon to help enhance the weight loss results.
Can a patient use the Orbera® Balloon more than once?
Yes, it is possible to have another round of the Orbera® balloon treatment but most doctors will have the patient wait about 2 months before placing the new balloon.
During that two months, they would work closely with the patient to address any issues that may be hindering weight loss and proceed from there.
What are the risks of the Orbera® Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloons have been used to help obese patients lose weight for over two decades but have evolved in many ways during that time.
The Orbera® balloons have been used since their approval from the FDA in 2015 and over 300,000 procedures have been done worldwide. The risk of serious complications is about 1 in 10,000 and includes balloon deflation, bowel obstruction, stomach ulceration, perforation of the intestines, and death.
How much of a chance is there that the Orbera® Balloon will deflate?
The chance of an Orbera gastric balloon deflating in the stomach is very small (0.3%) and is a rare occurrence. This rare event has been associated with balloons that are left in the stomach for over 6 months.
Will I have exercise restrictions while I have a Gastric Balloon in my stomach?
There are no restrictions for exercising when using an Orbera® gastric balloon. The amount of exercise a patient gets is directly related to how much weight they will lose.
Patients should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day and at least 5 days a week.
Aerobics, kickboxing, Crossfit, walking, running, weight training, swimming, etc. The more exercise patients get, the more weight they will lose.
What about abdominal exercises while using Orbera®?
Training that includes abdominal exercises is perfectly fine. The balloon is safely protected in the stomach and the abdominal muscles and doing abdominal training will not harm the balloon.
Is it safe to travel by Airplane with a Gastric Balloon?
It is perfectly safe to fly while using the Orbera gastric balloon as it is not affected by altitude.