What is a gastric balloon?
A gastric balloon acts as a placeholder in your stomach to give you the sensation of abdominal fullness. This allows you to feel satiated faster, curbing excess eating so you can lose weight. The balloon itself is made of a soft silicone and is about the size of a small head of lettuce. With the help of an endoscope, the doctor threads the deflated balloon through the mouth and esophagus down to the stomach where it is then filled with saline. No incisions are required, and the entire procedure typically lasts 30 minutes. After 6 months, the balloon is removed by releasing the saline, and then retrieving the silicone membrane via the same route.
How can I tell if I’m a good candidate?
The best prospects for gastric balloon treatment are at least 18, and have a BMI no more than 30-40. This is the range that the FDA has approved, so in those with a higher BMI, the gastric balloon would be considered “off-label”. To find out more about whether you are a good candidate for the procedure, schedule your free consultation with one of the Athenix staff members today.
I had bariatric surgery. Can I still get the gastric balloon?
The gastric balloon is not appropriate for patients who have previously undergone bariatric surgery. However, those who plan to pursue bariatric surgery in the future may benefit from using the gastric balloon as an interim step on their journey towards long-term weight loss.
Is the procedure safe?
The FDA approved both the Orbera single gastric balloon and the Reshape dual gastric balloon in August of 2015. Although these weight loss devices may be new to US clients, both balloon systems have been in use worldwide for nearly two decades and have a strong reputation for safety.
What is the average amount of weight loss I can expect?
On the whole, most patients find they can lose up to 35% of their excess weight within the balloon’s six-month placement period. Clinical trials have indicated a weight loss of anywhere between 25 and 75 pounds, depending on the patient’s starting BMI and on how much effort they put into working on their lifestyle changes.
How long do results last?
The Orbera and Reshape gastric balloons are meant to act as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle. For the first six months with the balloon in place, you will be working with your qualified medical team on healthy lifestyle changes so that in the second six-month period after the balloon is removed, you can continue to keep the weight off. Success is based on how well you adopt the suggested changes. In some cases, your doctors may also be able to prescribe certain weight loss drugs that work in tandem with your gastric balloon treatment. All this being said, regaining the lost weight after the program is always a risk.
Will my health insurance pay for a gastric balloon procedure?
Unfortunately, because gastric balloon is still so new, most insurance companies will not cover it. However, our office can assist you with financing. We work with Prosper Healthcare Lending, HSA’s, CareCredit and several others that offer reasonable payment plans and APR’s.
What will my recovery be like?
As no overnight stay is required for the procedure, Los Angeles gastric balloon clients can expect to return to work and normal activities the following day, provided they are not suffering from any temporary nausea or discomfort.
Will I have to change my diet after gastric balloon treatment?
Your Athenix physician will assist you with a dietary plan that suits your needs and lifestyle. This plan can be amended and adjusted during your follow up visits at our Los Angeles offices throughout the 12-month program. We encourage flexibility within certain guidelines, so you won’t feel like you are being restricted or deprived.