The Orbera Balloon is a device that is temporarily implanted in the stomach to help people lose weight. A saline filled balloon the size of a grapefruit is placed for 6 months with the aid of an endoscope. Patients whose BMI (body mass index) is between 30 and 40 are eligible.
The balloon is designed to make people feel full while eating smaller portions during a meal. In order for people to lose weight successfully, the balloon must be used in conjunction with a proper diet, exercise and behavior modification program, so individuals adopt better eating habits that will allow them to both lose and keep the weight off in the long term. In a study of 255 patients receiving the Orbera Balloon, the average weight loss was 21.8 lbs (10.2% of their body weight).
The Orbera Balloon is placed in one’s stomach through the upper endoscopy procedure. The procedure is conducted at a hospital or outpatient center. Patients will first change into a gown and their belongings will be stored in a secure area. Patients may receive a local, liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. The anesthetic numbs the throat and calms the gag reflex. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm so sedatives can be administered. Sedatives help patients stay relaxed and comfortable. Most patients fall asleep with sedatives during the procedure. While patients are sedated, the doctor and medical staff monitor vital signs. Patients continue to breathe on their own throughout the procedure.
During the procedure, patients lie on their side on an examination table. An endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a video monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. Air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see. The doctor will carefully examine the upper gastrointestinal to make sure it is safe to place the balloon. Then the uninflated balloon is inserted alongside the endoscope through the mouth and passed down into the stomach. Under camera view, the balloon is then inflated with saline until it is about the size of a grapefruit. The deployment system is detached from the balloon, leaving it in the stomach. The endoscope is removed and the procedure is completed.
After the procedure, patients are moved to a recovery room where they wait about an hour for the sedative to wear off. The balloon will stay in place for six months. In the beginning, patients often have nausea and vomiting. This can be managed with anti-nausea medicines prescribed by the doctor. In 6 months, the doctor will repeat the upper endoscopy and deflate and remove the balloon from the stomach.
Aside from nausea and vomiting, other adverse effects include abdominal or back pain or acid reflux. There have been rare reports of balloon leakage, in which case patients will no longer experience feeling as full quickly after a meal. More serious complications can include a partial or complete blockage of the bowel by the balloon, bacterial growth in the balloon leading to an infection, injury to the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, and duodenum).
For more information on the Orbera Balloon, please visit http://www.orbera.com/
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