More than 78 million American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Besides causing low energy, degenerative changes in the joints and sleep problems, obesity has been linked to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Not all patients are candidates or want to undergo bariatric surgery such as the gastric sleeve, or take weight-loss drugs. For these patients, there is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved option: the Orbera™ Intragastric Balloon.
A Temporary Device Plus Lifestyle Counseling
In the Orbera procedure, a soft silicone balloon is temporarily placed in the stomach to curb hunger and encourage portion-controlled eating. “Patients feel fuller faster, so they take in fewer calories,” says Kent Sasse, MD, MPH, FACS, FACRS, a bariatric surgeon. Coaching starts right away with a team of physicians, therapists and a nutritionist who monitor the patient’s progress. “This helps patients develop sustainable, healthy habits that can keep the weight off over time,” says Dr. Sasse.
Dr. Sasse emphasizes the ease of this new weight-loss option. “The balloon is removable, the procedure is reversible and it is usually performed in an outpatient setting,” he says. “Those who are candidates for Orbera are 20 to 50 pounds overweight, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 to 35 and have not had weight-loss success on their own through diet and/or exercise.”
A Step-by-Step Look at the Orbera Procedure
- The deflated Orbera Intragastric Balloon is placed inside the stomach with an endoscope in about 30 minutes under light sedation.
- The balloon is inflated with sterile saline solution, creating a feeling of fullness.
- A 12-month coaching program, which includes nutrition, fitness and psychological counseling, begins.
- At six months, the balloon is deflated and removed in the same way it was placed – through a non-surgical procedure with a mild sedative.
To find a doctor, call Northern NNMC's free physician referral line at 775-356-6662.