How Effective is an Intragastric Balloon to Manage Your Weight

The balloon fills the space in your stomach, helping you eat smaller meals. It is a non-surgical alternative to bariatric surgery. After determining you are a good candidate, your Mercy team will help you learn new eating habits and establish an exercise routine. We will also guide you through a customized weight loss program.

Weight Loss

An intragastric balloon fills the space in your stomach, slowing the passage of food and liquid. It helps you feel full and trains your body to eat smaller meals. Most patients lose significant weight while the balloon is in place. However, the key to long-term success is continued follow-up with your team of Mercy care providers.

They will help you make lifestyle changes and keep up with your commitment to a healthier diet. You may experience nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain in the first few days after a gastric balloon procedure. Over-the-counter medications can help you manage these symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe antacid medicines to control reflux (heartburn). These symptoms should disappear in three to five days.

The Orbera device has a unique advantage over other intragastric balloons. It does not require anesthesia or a surgical endoscopic procedure for insertion and removal. It can be suitable for obese individuals uncomfortable with endoscopy and anesthesia. However, this feature has the potential to result in inappropriate implantation and increased rates of intolerance.

You should be treated by a skilled medical professional who can carry out the surgery safely and successfully if you want to ensure that your Orbera balloon is implanted properly. 

Diabetes Control

The Orbera ™ balloon is a temporary, non-surgical way to improve your weight and diabetes control. It consists of a single, deflated silicone balloon that we place in your stomach intragastrically. Once in place, the balloon is inflated with sterilized salt water. The balloon makes you feel fuller more quickly than usual, which decreases your appetite by taking up space in your stomach.

You can consume most things, but you should chew each bite properly and slowly to prevent air from being swallowed. You will also have to drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. You must also take daily multivitamins and calcium supplements while the balloon is in your stomach.

During the procedure, you’ll be given medication to help you relax and a topical anesthetic or lubricant to numb your throat for the endoscope. After examining your esophagus and stomach, we’ll guide the endoscope through your mouth to your stomach. We’ll ensure you don’t have any conditions that would make having a gastric balloon unsafe, such as a large hiatal hernia or stomach ulcers.

The first Scandinavian real-world clinical trial of the Elipse intragastric balloon system proved its feasibility and short-term efficacy for weight loss and diabetes control. Patients lost an average of 3.2 kg per month and improved their glycemic control as measured by reductions in TBWL and HbA1c after 16 weeks and 52 weeks post-balloon placement.

Blood Pressure Control

With the help of professionals, Lisa lost weight, and her blood pressure improved. Now, she eats smaller meals and feels full faster after eating. She also works with her nutritionist to ensure she continues to make healthy choices that support a long-term change in lifestyle and diet.

Before inserting the balloon, a specially trained gastroenterologist will examine your mouth, esophagus and stomach to see if you have conditions that could interfere with having an intragastric balloon (such as a large hiatal hernia or stomach ulcer).

If there are no complications, the doctor will advance the uninflated balloon, about the size of a grapefruit, through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. Once in place, the balloon is filled with saline solution, taking up space and leaving less room for food.

After a short period on a liquid diet, you’ll begin to reintroduce solid foods and follow a long-term diet designed by your nutritionist to help you keep the weight off. Initially, some patients may experience nausea, vomiting or stomach cramping when beginning a new diet.

If these symptoms persist, your doctor will prescribe medications to address them. A BMI of 30 or higher and passing a health exam are requirements for consideration for a gastric balloon. The procedure is not for everyone and isn’t covered by health insurance. 

Sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious breathing condition that causes you to stop breathing or make choking sounds during sleep. It can leave you feeling exhausted or irritable regularly. Excess weight can cause the fat in your throat to block the airway or compress the soft tissue in your throat and tongue.

Excessive snoring or interrupted breathing during sleep can also indicate this condition. If lifestyle changes and oral devices are not helping you manage your sleep apnea, doctors may recommend surgery to make more space in the throat or reposition the jaw to open the airway. In rare cases, a tracheostomy may be required to insert a tube into the trachea directly.

 A flexible telescope, an endoscope, will be inserted down your throat. You will be asked to swallow while the endoscope enters your esophagus (gullet) and stomach. The silicone balloon will be saline-filled through a catheter attached to the endoscope.

It takes up about a third of your stomach and slows down the emptying of your stomach through the valve at the bottom of your stomach (pylorus). The saline will remain in the stomach for six months.