Which FDA-approved Intragastric Balloon Is The Best?

If you are contemplating a non-surgical weight loss procedure, perhaps you are researching doctors that offer the intragastric balloon in New York City. Look no further, you have found Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center, the experts in safe, effective, non-surgical weight loss procedures.

Researching intragastric balloons can be confusing because there is a lot of information available on the internet and it can be challenging to weed your way through it. Some information available is outdated, and some are unclear, conflicting, or not relevant because the intragastric balloon being discussed has been discontinued or is not FDA-approved in the United States.

This article will briefly touch on the basics of intragastric balloons and how they help promote weight loss. Next, we will look at the differences between the FDA-approved intragastric balloons available in the U.S. and why we think the Orbera intragastric balloon is the best.

What Is An Intragastric Balloon?

An intragastric balloon is a soft silicone device that is inflated with liquid or gas and temporarily placed inside a patient’s stomach to help promote weight loss.

How Does The Intragastric Balloon Get Into The Patient’s Stomach?

Some balloons are strategically placed into the stomach through an endoscope which is a special hollow tube-like instrument that has a light and a camera. The endoscope is gently lowered down the patient’s throat making a pathway used to strategically place the deflated balloon while the doctor is guided by the endoscopic camera. Other balloons are contained within a capsule and swallowed by the patient with the help of contrast x-rays.

Removing the intragastric balloon is done endoscopically and takes about 20 minutes.

Orbera Balloon Insertion Walkthrough

In this video, I walk through an Orbera balloon insertion! Not only is the procedure done within minutes, but you're also ready to leave soon after!

How Does An Intragastric Balloon Work For Weight Loss?

Once the intragastric balloon is placed into the patient’s stomach, it is filled with sterile saline solution until it is close to the grapefruit size. The balloon takes up a significant amount of space in the patient’s stomach, restricting the amount of food the patient can eat at one time.

In addition to reducing the stomach’s capacity, the intragastric balloon slows down the rate of digestion so the smaller stomach empties more slowly and the patient feels satisfied longer which helps promote weight loss.

The balloon remains in the patient’s stomach for six months during which time it is used as a tool to help the patient’s efforts go further. For the entire 12-month program, the patient is supported by a team of professionals that help with nutritional and dietary education and counseling, physical exercise, and lifestyle modification. The goal is for the patient to learn new behavior patterns and for healthy choices to become routine and a way of life.

What Intragastric Balloons Are FDA-Approved In The U.S.?

Currently, there are three different balloon systems approved for weight loss by the FDA they are:

  • Orbera balloon;
  • Obalon balloon;
  • Spatz3 balloon (just recently approved).

What Are The Differences In The FDA-Approved Intragastric Balloons?

While these different intragastric balloons all help promote weight loss through the same restrictive technique, they vary in style and also differ in other ways.

The chart below shows a comparison of intragastric balloons approved by the FDA in the United States. Some of the areas of comparison include the number of balloons used, the medium used to inflate, how they are placed in the patient’s stomach, and the average cost of each intragastric balloon.

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Comparison Chart Of Intragastric Balloons
Number Of Balloons Used Method Of Balloon Insertion Average Cost of Procedure In U.S. Total Body Weight Loss Average Filled With
1 balloon Inserted endoscopically $8,245 15.4% Saline
3 individual balloons are gradually introduced to the stomach in one-month intervals Swallowed in capsule form by the patient $6,500-9,500 7% Gas
1 balloon (adjustable) Inserted endoscopically $6,000-9,000 14.9% Saline

Intragastric Balloons: Which to Choose?

A study published in 2021 compared several different intragastric balloons and among these were Orbera, Obalon, and Spatz3. Following are some of the interesting observations pointed out by the study.

Orbera Intragastric Balloon
  • The Orbera balloon offered the most favorable weight loss results when compared to the others, but the tradeoff was as a liquid-filled balloon there is a significant degree of discomfort for the first week. (Nausea, vomiting, gastric pain) when compared to the gas-filled Obalon.
    The absolute weight loss from 7 combined studies containing 1005 individuals, showed the most favorable results from the Orbera intragastric balloon;
  • 81% of participants experienced initial side effects of nausea.
Spatz3 Intragastric Balloon
  • The Spatz3 balloon is adjustable and the volume of saline can be reduced to respond to intolerance or increased to combat weight plateaus, however, there was no marked difference in weight loss results in the clinical trials between the group who had adjustments made during the trial vs those who did not;
  • 5.3% of Spatz3 intragastric balloon patients experienced serious adverse events (4% were gastric ulcers) The overall complication rate of the Spatz3 was 16.4;
  • 90% of participants experienced initial side effects of nausea;
  • Directives that resulted from a consensus conference of international experts reviewing intragastric balloons declared that to be safe and effective the balloon must have a smooth surface so it does not cause erosion, obstructions, or ulcers, it must be made from sturdy materials that will not leak, and be filled with liquid and not air. The only one that conforms to this standard is the Orbera. The Spatz3, even though adjustable, does not have a completely smooth surface and its filling valve creates a “tail” that trails loose and has been known to result in acute pancreatitis in some cases. The Obalon is filled with gas and while it can help patients lose weight, it is significantly less effective than liquid-filled balloons.
Obalon Intragastric Balloon
  • The Obalon intragastric balloon does not require an endoscopic procedure to place the balloon but does require fluoroscopy to make sure it is properly placed (an x-ray using contrast medium). The patient is exposed to radiation during the procedure and the longer the procedure takes to complete, the more exposure they receive;
  • The weight loss results of the Obalon intragastric balloon were significantly less than the liquid-filled balloons;
  • 55% of participants experienced the initial side effects of nausea.

Why We Think The Orbera Intragastric Balloon Is The Best

The Orbera intragastric balloon is considered reliable, safe, and trustworthy by providers based on experience and data provided through Orbera’s long history of use.

1. Design
The creativity and technology used to design the Orbera balloon have been over 20 years in the making. All other intragastric balloons available today are based on the pioneering ingenuity of the manufacturers of the Orbera balloon. It meets all safety standards.
2. The Proven Track Record
Orbera was used in other countries before it was FDA-approved in the United States. Its safety and efficacy have been demonstrated through multiple clinical trials and studies.
3. Patient Results
We have witnessed amazing results firsthand through the success of our Orbera intragastric balloon patients in our New York City location. Take a look at our Youtube shorts to see for yourself!
4. Support
Patients can experience a more significant weight loss when supported by a team. Orbera has a proprietary support application called Apollo Care that patients use to help keep them on track during their 12-month Orbera weight loss program. Through Apollo Care patients can:

  • Access one-on-one sessions with Registered Dietitian coaches;
  • Keep track of Meals;
  • Stay motivated;
  • Access a plethora of information regarding nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle choices;
  • Access to an immense number of healthy recipes.

Choose A Qualified Professional For Your Intragastric Balloon

It is critical when considering an endoscopic weight loss program such as an intragastric balloon, that you avoid inexperienced endoscopists. Intragastric balloons should be placed only by experienced accredited doctors who are also trained to resolve obesity-related or bariatric-related complications.

The aforementioned study expressed concern over swallowable intragastric balloons such as the Obalon because they indicated that since these do not require expertise in endoscopy to place, the procedure may attract inexperienced doctors. An inexperienced doctor that does not have the proper training to identify and deal with sudden complications compromises the patient’s safety.

If you are interested in the Orbera intragastric balloon In New York City, contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center for an appointment today!

The expert team at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Centers is committed to supporting you every step of the way during your weight loss journey. Dr. Steven Batash, MD, FACG is one of the world’s leading experts in non-surgical weight loss procedures and has over 30 years of experience with endoscopic procedures such as intragastric balloon placement. Contact us for a consultation today and learn more about how the Orbera intragastric balloon can help you lose weight and keep it off.

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