In the fight against obesity, bariatric surgery has proven itself a formidable weapon. However, not every individual is a candidate for, or comfortable with, these surgical interventions. Hence, alternative weight loss procedures have been developed to bridge this gap.
Intragastric Balloons: A Non-surgical Option
Among these alternatives, intragastric balloons have emerged as a non-surgical, non-pharmacological option for managing obesity. These devices serve as a temporary aid to complement diet and exercise in achieving weight loss.
Understanding Intragastric Balloons
History and Development of Intragastric Balloons
First introduced in the 1980s, intragastric balloons have since evolved significantly in terms of design, safety, and efficacy. They operate on the principle of gastric space occupation, inducing early satiety and promoting weight loss.
Function and Mechanism of Intragastric Balloons
These devices are inserted into the stomach and then inflated with saline or air, limiting the volume available for food. Consequently, they create a sensation of fullness after small meal portions, thereby reducing overall caloric intake.
The Orbera Balloon Design
The Orbera stomach balloon is a silicone elastomer device, designed to be filled with saline until it resembles a spherical shape about the size of a grapefruit. Its volume can be adjusted based on the individual’s tolerance and weight loss goals.
How the Orbera Balloon Works
Once inserted, the Orbera balloon floats freely within the stomach. It reduces meal portion sizes, helping individuals to adopt healthier eating habits. It is a temporary device, typically removed after six months. Finds orbera balloon near you here.
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The Procedure: Insertion and Removal
Before insertion, a comprehensive evaluation including medical history review, physical examination, and necessary investigations is performed to ascertain suitability for the Orbera balloon.
Orbera Balloon Insertion Process
The Orbera balloon is inserted endoscopically through the mouth into the stomach, under mild sedation. Once correctly positioned, it’s inflated with saline. The entire procedure usually takes 20-30 minutes.
Orbera Balloon Removal Process
Removal, similar to insertion, involves endoscopy under sedation. The balloon is deflated and then gently extracted.
Effectiveness of Orbera Stomach Balloon
Weight Loss Expectations
Patients can expect an average of 10-15% total body weight loss over six months. It’s crucial to remember that Orbera functions as a weight loss aid and must be complemented by lifestyle changes for optimum results.
Improvements in Comorbid Conditions
Several studies report improvements in obesity-associated conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia post Orbera balloon insertion.
Studies Supporting Orbera’s Effectiveness
Multiple studies, such as those by Ponce J et al. (2013) and Genco A et al. (2013), support the efficacy of the Orbera balloon in inducing significant weight loss and improving obesity-related comorbidities.
Risks and Complications
Immediate Post-Insertion Symptoms
Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort are common in the initial days post-insertion but are generally well-managed with appropriate medications.
Potential Serious Complications
Though rare, serious complications like gastric perforation, balloon deflation, and acute pancreatitis have been reported.
Balloon Deflation and Migration Risks
Balloon deflation can lead to its migration into the small intestine, potentially causing intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency.
Life with the Orbera Stomach Balloon
Dietary Changes and Nutrition Plan
Post-insertion, a gradual transition from a liquid diet to semi-solid and then solid foods is recommended. Portion control and balanced meals are key to success.
Regular physical activity, tailored to the individual’s capacity and preference, is strongly advised to augment weight loss and promote overall health.
Emotional and Psychological Adjustments
Adjusting to the balloon and associated lifestyle changes can be challenging. Therefore, psychological support and counseling are integral to the program.
Comparison with Other Weight Loss Procedures
Orbera vs. Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
While both procedures aid weight loss, the former is non-surgical, reversible, and has a lower complication rate, whereas the latter typically results in more significant weight loss.
Orbera vs. Gastric Banding
Orbera may be preferred due to its non-surgical nature and absence of anatomical alterations, but unlike gastric banding, its effect is temporary.
Orbera vs. Other Intragastric Balloons
While there are multiple intragastric balloons available, Orbera boasts a high safety profile and significant clinical experience, given its long presence in the market.
Expert Opinions and Research on Orbera Balloon
Supportive Expert Views
Experts like Dr. Jaime Ponce, a bariatric surgeon and former president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, endorse the use of the Orbera balloon as a viable option for certain patients who are not candidates for or prefer not to undergo, surgery.
Critical Expert Views
Conversely, some experts voice concerns about the temporary nature of the balloon and the necessity of high adherence to lifestyle changes for maintaining weight loss.
Orbera is a promising tool for individuals with a BMI of 30-40 who have not had success with diet and exercise alone and who may not qualify for or wish to avoid more invasive procedures. As our understanding of obesity deepens and technology advances, the future may see even more effective and personalized weight loss interventions.