If you’re considering getting a weight-loss procedure, such as the Orbera intragastric balloon, you want to make sure that you’re going to lose enough weight to make the procedure worth it. While the amount of weight lost using this procedure varies by individual, you will be able to lose a significant number of pounds. At Batash Medical in Rego Park, NY, we can perform this non-surgical endoscopic procedure to help you shed that extra weight.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Orbera?
Possible Weight Loss
Some patients who have undergone this procedure have lost as much as 47% of their starting weight. This means that someone who weighs 400 pounds could lose as much as 150 pounds in the six months the balloon is kept in the stomach.
However, it is important to note that these results are not typical, as the actual results depend on your starting weight, how much you exercise, and your motivation level. You can still overeat and nullify your results.
Expected Weight Loss
The average weight loss of patients who have undergone this procedure is 10.2% of their initial weight. This means that a 400-pound person can expect to lose about 42 pounds during the six-month treatment. We tell our patients that they should be prepared to lose between 30 and 40 pounds using Orbera; however, if you weigh more to begin with or are able to exercise more often in that six months, you could lose more.
Overall, this procedure can help patients lose up to three times as much weight in six months than with diet and exercise alone. However, you do need to commit to a continued practice of eating smaller portions and to living a healthy lifestyle when the balloon is removed. Otherwise, you will gain the weight back over time. This is not a permanent solution to weight loss unless you make these commitments, but it can help you lose weight quickly.
Under mild sedation, an endoscopic tube will be placed down your throat and into your stomach. Through this tube, we’ll insert a silicone balloon into your stomach and then fill it with saline solution.
The grapefruit-size balloon takes up a significant portion of your stomach, which means you will feel fuller with less food. The balloon is kept in the stomach for up to six months, when it is deflated and removed through another endoscopic procedure.
There is very little recovery time associated with this procedure, but you will be restricted from participating in strenuous activities for about a week. After your body has adjusted to having the balloon inside your stomach, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities without restriction. However, for the six months you have the balloon, you will not be able to SCUBA dive, skydive, or go bungee jumping, so plan these activities for after the balloon is removed.
We do recommend that you take a few days off work to allow your body to adjust to the balloon, but this isn’t absolutely necessary, as there is nothing that will prevent you from completing your normal, everyday duties. After the first week, we encourage you to start a regular exercise routine that we will help you develop during your visits with us. We will provide you with exercises that are appropriate for your fitness level.
Eating Rules Following Balloon Insertion
The Overall Journey
Immediately following the insertion of the balloon, you will be restricted to a liquid diet for 10 days; however, many people do not feel hungry at all when they first undergo the procedure. This is the week when you’ll likely lose the most weight, with women losing up to 9 pounds and men losing up to 18 pounds. At the two-week mark, you might start to feel hungry, but it will still be muted, and you’ll get full extremely quickly.
Many patients report that just a couple of tablespoons of yogurt is enough to make them feel full from the second week on. It’s easy to overeat when you have a balloon in your stomach, so you must eat slowly and pay attention to the signs that you’re full. If you feel bloated, or suffer from acid reflux, indigestion, or hiccups, you’ve probably overeaten. You’ll learn to stop eating when your body tells you it’s full to avoid these symptoms.
From about week six on, your appetite may increase, but it will not return to the level it was prior to undergoing the procedure. You will gradually increase the amount you eat, but it’s important to still listen to your body and stop when you’re full. You will lose 90% of your weight during the first three months you have the balloon, and you might see your weight loss plateau by the time it’s is ready to come out.
There are three main rules you need to follow to ensure you get the most out of the Orbera procedure. Following these rules will help set you up for success once the balloon is removed and you have to keep the weight you lost from coming back. It’s better to learn how to eat properly while the balloon is inside your stomach than to suddenly have to eat less when it’s removed.
Eat Small Portions
Instead of using a regular, dinner-size plate, use a smaller plate such as a dessert plate or a child’s plate, and only give yourself a serving that is as big as your palm. Additionally, use a small cup rather than a large one to limit the amount of liquid you drink. Don’t put the food on the table, but instead, serve your portion and everyone else’s portion from the kitchen. Then, put the leftovers away before you eat.
Do not feel like you have to eat everything on your plate, even if you’ve only served yourself a palm-size serving. This is how we learn to overeat. Instead, stop when your body tells you it’s full and put the remaining portion of food away for another meal. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but you’ll be modeling restraint around anyone else you’re eating with. It’s a good way to help develop healthy eating habits.
Eating slowly is the key to knowing when you’re full, as there is a delay from when your stomach gets full and when your brain actually receives the message that it’s full. Your meal, as small as it is, should take at least 20 minutes to complete. Chew each bite thoroughly and put your utensils down between bites. Sip your drink so that you do not fill with liquid instead of food, which can make you feel bloated.
Wait Before Going Back for More Food
Keeping in mind the delayed message between your stomach and your brain, wait at least 30 minutes after you’ve eaten your first portion before deciding to go back for seconds. If you eat more food too soon, you increase the risk of overeating, which will only make you feel uncomfortable. After 30 minutes, you’ll probably no longer feel the need to eat more, but if you do, keep your portion small (no bigger than your palm).
In order to qualify for this procedure, you must have a BMI of at least 27 and have been diagnosed with either grade I or grade II obesity. People who want to lose a significant amount of weight before a special event like a class reunion or wedding may be good candidates because of the relatively short time the balloon is in your stomach, but you still have to meet the minimum BMI and diagnosis requirements.
If you’ve previously had gastric bypass surgery, or any esophageal surgery, you are not a candidate for this procedure. Additionally, some people may be considered too obese for this procedure because they will not lose enough weight in six months. There are other options for these patients that we’ll discuss. Patients with the following conditions are also not good candidates for this procedure.
- Gastrointestinal tract inflammation
- A gastric mass
- Liver failure
- A hiatal hernia
- A bleeding disorder
- A clotting disorder
- The inability for your esophagus to contract
- A psychiatric condition such as anorexia or bulimia
There are quite a few benefits of this procedure, especially for patients who don’t want to undergo surgery or are looking for a minimally-invasive way to lose a significant amount of weight in a short time. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis with a mild sedative rather than general anesthesia. Moreover, the procedure is temporary, so if you are not pleased with the results, you can have the balloon removed and seek other weight loss solutions.
One of the best benefits is that you learn how much food your body actually needs to survive and how to portion your food so you don’t overeat. These are skills you’ll be able to take with you after the balloon is removed. You’ll also be able to teach other people in your life about eating well, portion size, and exercise. This is especially important for people who have kids so they can learn the benefits before they become overweight.
To prepare for the procedure, you will be given an acid reducer to take a week before your appointment. Four days prior to your procedure, you’ll start a liquid-only diet that consists of broth, protein shakes, water, and sugar-free gelatin. This will prepare your stomach for your post-procedure diet. You’ll switch to clear liquids only during the 48 hours prior to your procedure. There may be other preparations we’ll have you do before your surgery depending on your individual needs.
The Orbera procedure is not currently covered by most health insurance policies, although you may be able to use your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account to pay for at least a portion of it. The cost varies per person but is usually between $6,000 and $9,000 depending on variables such as how much sedation you need and how long your procedure takes. We will discuss your costs at your consultation appointment.
After the Balloon Is Removed
Once your intragastric balloon is removed after six months, you will need to limit your daily calorie intake to between 1,200 and 1,400 calories. This will help you maintain your weight loss from the procedure. Additionally, we recommend you make an appointment with a weight management expert to counsel you as you navigate your new lifestyle. You will also want to exercise at least five days a week to keep your body fit and your metabolism high.
Now that you know you can lose up to 40 pounds with this procedure, it’s time to contact us to schedule your consultation. Call Batash Medical in Rego Park, NY today to book your appointment. You have nothing to lose but the extra weight!