Despite the common belief that diet and exercise are the ultimate solutions for weight loss, there are instances where they may not yield the desired results. Many individuals struggle to achieve significant and sustainable weight loss through traditional methods alone and are unsuccessful. In such cases, seeking additional help becomes necessary and is recommended. One effective weight loss tool that may be an option to provide the necessary assistance is a gastric balloon.
Non-surgical weight loss methods, such as gastric balloons, have gained popularity as an effective means to help individuals achieve their weight loss goals due to their temporary nature. Individuals who do not wish to undergo surgery, permanent changes to their digestive system, or long recovery times are finding gastric balloons a safe and effective alternative to invasive procedures. Currently, there are three gastric balloons that are approved by the FDA in the United States.
Today we will look at the two saline-filled gastric balloons and compare Orbera vs Spatz3.
What Are The Spatz3 and Orbera Balloons?
Orbera and Spatz3 are gastric balloons, which are non-surgical devices that are inserted into the stomach to help individuals lose weight. They work by reducing the available space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and a reduced appetite. These tools serve as temporary aids, providing support during an individual’s weight loss journey.
When Would An Individual Want To Use A Gastric Balloon?
There are several situations where diet and exercise may not be enough for weight loss. Factors such as hormonal imbalances, genetic predispositions, medical conditions, or psychological barriers can hinder progress. Additionally, some individuals may have a substantial amount of weight to lose, making it challenging to reach their goals solely through lifestyle modifications.
In these circumstances, a gastric balloon can be a valuable tool. It offers a non-surgical and minimally invasive option to jumpstart weight loss efforts. The balloon’s presence in the stomach helps individuals control portion sizes, adopt healthier eating habits, and develop a better understanding of their body’s signals of fullness.
Moreover, gastric balloons provide a sense of accountability and support throughout the weight-loss journey. A gastroenterologist who is skilled in bariatric endoscopy expertly places the balloon into the patient’s stomach during a non-surgical procedure that takes about 20 minutes. During the balloon’s placement in the stomach, a multidisciplinary team provides the patient with comprehensive guidance and support. This personalized approach ensures that individuals receive the necessary assistance to make lasting lifestyle changes.
What Is The Difference Between Spatz3 And Orbera?
Out of the three FDA-approved gastric balloons, the Orbera and the Spatz3 are the most similar. The other balloon (Obalon) is a three-balloon system that is filled with gas, while the Orbera and Spatz3 are filled with liquid. Below is a comparison of the Spatz3 balloon vs the Orbera.
1. Orbera vs Spatz3 Qualifications
To have an Orbera or Spatz3 balloon, individuals typically need to meet certain qualifications and undergo a thorough evaluation process. While specific requirements may vary depending on your provider, the general qualifications for both of these intragastric balloons include:
- Candidates should be at least 18 years of age; however, younger patients are considered on a case-by-case basis;
- Usually, individuals with a BMI between 30 and 40 are considered potential candidates for intragastric balloons. However, some healthcare providers may consider individuals with a lower BMI if they have weight-related health issues;
- Candidates are typically required to have attempted traditional weight loss methods such as dieting and exercise without achieving significant and sustainable weight loss;
- Candidates must demonstrate a genuine commitment to making lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen throughout the treatment period.
2. Balloon Design and Placement
The Orbera balloon is a single-use (inflated once) balloon made of perfectly smooth silicone that is filled with sterile saline. It is inserted into the stomach endoscopically and inflated with a sterile saline solution. The procedure typically takes around 20 minutes and requires no incisions or general anesthesia. After a period of six months, the balloon is removed in a similar endoscopic procedure. The perfectly smooth design of the Orbera balloon helped earn it the designation of “the ideal balloon” during a meeting of international experts.
The Spatz3 balloon is also a silicone balloon, but it has a tail or an extension tube that extends from the balloon that is free floating. The primary purpose of the tail is to allow for the adjustability of the balloon’s volume without the need for additional procedures or balloon replacement. The access port, which is part of the tail, allows the doctor to inject or withdraw saline solution to adjust the volume of the balloon as needed.
The ability to inflate or deflate the balloon through the access port allows customization of the balloon’s size to suit individual patient needs and optimize weight loss results. This adjustability is especially beneficial for patients who may require a larger or smaller balloon volume based on their progress, stomach capacity, or specific weight loss goals.
3. Intragastric Balloon Volume
The Orbera balloon has a fixed volume of approximately 300–700 ml, depending on the patient’s stomach capacity. The balloon is filled during insertion into the stomach and remains at that capacity for the duration of the six-month placement.
The Spatz3 balloon offers a variable volume ranging from 300 cc to 900 cc, and saline can be added or removed during an endoscopic procedure at any time. This adjustability allows the doctor to customize the balloon’s size to meet individual patient needs, potentially mitigating side effects and enhancing efficacy.
4. Duration of Placement of Orbera vs Spatz3
The Orbera balloon is typically placed for a fixed period of six months. During this time, patients are closely monitored under doctor supervision to ensure proper weight loss and minimize potential complications. After six months, the balloon is removed. In contrast, the Spatz3 balloon can be left in the stomach for up to 8 months, providing an extended period for weight loss interventions.
Neither of these gastric balloons is a standalone solution for weight loss. They are most effective when combined with a comprehensive weight loss program that includes dietary modifications, regular physical activity, and behavior change strategies. These balloons serve as tools to facilitate the adoption of healthier habits and kickstart weight loss, but long-term success relies on sustaining these changes even after the balloon is removed.
5. Weight Loss Results from Orbera vs Spatz3
Both the Orbera balloon and the Spatz3 balloon have demonstrated effectiveness in facilitating weight loss. Clinical studies have shown that patients with the Orbera balloon achieve an average weight loss of around 15.4% of their total body weight.
Similarly, the Spatz3 balloon has demonstrated comparable weight loss results, with studies indicating an average weight loss of 15.5% of the total body weight. Of course, individual results will vary, as sustainable weight loss also relies on lifestyle changes and behavior modification.
6. Safety And Side Effects
When comparing the Spatz balloon vs Orbera, both carry some inherent risks, but serious adverse events are rare. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort, which are generally temporary and resolve over time. In rare cases, balloon deflation, bowel obstruction, or migration may occur, requiring immediate medical attention. It is crucial for patients to be monitored closely by their doctor throughout the balloon placement period to mitigate any potential risks.
7. Availability and Cost Of Orbera vs Spatz3
The availability and cost of gastric balloons may vary depending on geographic location, the expertise of the doctor, and specific patient circumstances. According to Obesity Coverage, the cost of the gastric balloon procedure can range between $6,000 and $9,000, which makes it significantly more affordable than all the bariatric surgeries that are available. A gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure that has the lowest cost, comes with decreased risks, and requires less recovery time.
In general, the Orbera balloon is more widely available and has been on the market for a longer time. It was approved for use in the United States in 2015 but had been widely used in Europe for years previously. It was the original gastric balloon, and all others, including the Spatz3, have been based on the Orbera design.
The Spatz3 balloon was approved by the FDA in October 2021, and being a newer product, it may have limited availability in some regions.
Spatz3 vs Orbera Overall Comparison
Both the Orbera balloon and the Spatz3 balloon offer viable options for individuals seeking non-surgical weight loss solutions. The choice between the two depends on individual circumstances, including specific weight loss goals, medical history, and preferences.
Consulting with a qualified gastroenterologist like Dr. Steven Batash, who is experienced in gastric balloon placements, can provide valuable guidance in selecting the most appropriate option to achieve long-term weight loss success.
Get Help From Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center
When traditional methods of diet and exercise fall short in achieving weight loss goals, seeking help from the experts at the Batash Endoscopic Weight Center is the first step to achieving sustainable weight loss.
We understand that obesity is a complex disease and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Each individual is different, and the underlying factors contributing to their excess weight can be diverse and multifaceted. Genetic predisposition, lifestyle choices, socio-economic factors, psychological influences, and medical conditions all play a role in the development and management of obesity.
A gastric balloon may be a good option to help get your health on track. The combination of this non-surgical tool and our qualified experts can provide you with the necessary support, accountability, and portion control to jumpstart your weight loss journey and achieve long-lasting results. Set up your appointment today!