Side Effects Of Intragastric Balloons: Is Orbera Safe?

Intragastric balloons are gaining popularity because they can safely and effectively help individuals lose a significant amount of weight. Patients who may not meet the criteria to qualify for bariatric surgery or do not wish to have surgery and have been unsuccessful in losing weight through traditional methods may be good candidates for a weight loss balloon.

If you are considering this method of weight loss, you may wonder if a gastric balloon is safe or if intragastric balloons have side effects. To understand the risks and side effects of a gastric balloon procedure, first, we are going to look at how a gastric balloon works to promote weight loss.

How Does A Gastric Balloon Work For WeightLoss?

Intragastric balloons are minimally invasive and do not require surgery. A special silicone balloon is inserted down a patient’s throat through the use of an endoscope and then, once properly placed in the stomach, is inflated with saline or gas. The grapefruit-sized balloon takes up space in the stomach only allowing the patient to eat small amounts during one meal. The balloon also helps the individual feel full longer.

Patients are given monitored support and dietary guidelines for an entire year. The balloon remains in place for six months and then it is removed and patients are expected to continue their diet and exercise plan for the remainder of the year. When used in conjunction with a healthy low-calorie diet and exercise, patients can lose a significant amount of weight with the help of a gastric balloon.

What To Expect After The ORBERA BALLOON Procedure!

Intragastric balloon side effects: are there any? Gastric balloon Orbera side effects. After the FDA approved it, a study included 258 individuals.

Is A Gastric Balloon Safe?

Intragastric balloons have been used to help obese individuals lose weight for over 20 years. Over the years these balloons have changed and improved in size, shape, and design and are now considered a safe, effective, established procedure for weight loss.

What Are The Side Effects Of Gastric Balloons?

With any procedure or medical device, there are always potential side effects and/or risks. The introduction of a balloon into the stomach will likely cause some temporary symptoms until the stomach grows accustomed to it. These symptoms may last one to two weeks but should subside after that. Your doctor may prescribe some medication to help ease your discomfort during this time.

Some of the most common gastric balloon side effects include:

  • A feeling of heaviness in the stomach;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Stomach cramps;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Lower back pain.

Serious side effects of intragastric balloons are rare and may include:

  • Risks related to sedation;
  • Risks related to endoscopy: bleeding, infection, tearing of the esophagus or stomach tissue;
  • Balloon deflation;
  • Stomach ulceration;
  • Bowel obstruction;
  • Intestinal perforation;
  • Death.

Frequently Asked Questions About
Gastric Balloon Side Effects and Safety

1. What Would Happen If An Orbera Balloon Deflated Or Leaked In My Stomach?

It would be very rare for this to occur but if the balloon should deflate, you would no longer feel full after eating. You should contact your doctor immediately to perform an x-ray to confirm the deflation and then remove the deflated balloon. If left untreated, a deflated balloon can cause bowel obstruction and other serious side effects.

2. Can A Stomach Injury Be A Side Effect Of A Gastric Balloon?

On rare occasions, patients may experience a stomach injury from a gastric balloon. Patients are usually provided medication that helps protect the walls of the stomach by reducing the acidity level.

In some cases, patients may fail to take the prescribed medication or have chronic side effects that they fail to report to their doctor. Patients should be diligent in reporting extended adverse gastric balloon side effects to their doctor so they may be treated.

3. Is A Gastric Balloon Safe While Pregnant?

If becoming pregnant while you have an intragastric balloon, inform your doctor right away. The safety and side effects of gastric balloons have not been determined on pregnant or nursing women and the balloon will need to be removed.

4. Have There Been Studies Of Gastric Balloon Side Effects?

Yes, there have been many studies and data collected regarding the possible side effects of a gastric balloon. After the FDA approved the gastric balloon procedure, a study that included 258 individuals showed the following side effects:

Gastric Balloon Side EffectNumber Of Patients Affected
Nausea70
Vomiting67
Pain/Discomfort63
Acid Reflux32

Most of these side effects were only temporary and went away within two weeks.

During the same study, 47 of the patients had their gastric balloons removed due to serious gastric balloon side effects, intolerance, or other reasons as detailed in the chart below.

Reason Balloon Was RemovedNumber of Patients
Chronic nausea, vomiting, pain or acid reflux that did not respond to medication27
Patient requested early removal due to their schedule or to prepare for an unrelated medical procedure13
Initial over-inflation of gastric balloon4
Dissatisfied with weight loss results3

Intragastric balloons effectively help patients lose 3x as much weight as diet and exercise alone.

If you are considering a gastric balloon procedure to help you in your weight loss efforts, contact us today to learn more!

At Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center, we use the Orbera gastric balloon which is the only gastric balloon that has been recognized by the ASGE for its effectiveness and safety profile. The Orbera gastric balloon is also the #1 weight loss balloon in the world! Contact us today to find out if you may be a candidate for the Orbera gastric balloon procedure.

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