Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
The Orbera weight-loss balloon helps people change their eating habits and reduce their weight with the help of a balloon the size of a grapefruit placed in their stomach for a 6-month period. Both placement and removal of the balloon are non-surgical procedures. Gastric balloon weight-loss treatments are ideal for patients with a BMI between 30 and 40 who have not had any prior bariatric surgery. A good candidate should be in good general medical condition and a non-smoker.
The best way to find out whether you are a good candidate for a gastric balloon is to meet with a gastric surgeon for an initial consultation. There are several factors he or she will take into account before recommending the procedure for you. Below is a detailed look at each of these factors to help you decide if a weight loss program via gastric balloon is for you.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Gastric Balloon?
During the consultation, your surgeon will take a look at the following attributes to determine whether you could benefit from the placement of a gastric balloon:
You are in the Right BMI Range
Good candidates for a weight-loss balloon have a BMI between 30 and 40. The procedure is designed for men or for women, there is no difference.
If your BMI is below 30, you may not see results as drastic as higher BMIs. Also, individuals with such a low BMI may be able to achieve a slimmer figure with simple liposuction, or lipo combined with skin tightening.
If your BMI is above 40, your surgeon will have to assess your risk from surgery, which as studies have shown increases for BMIs over 40. If you are borderline right around 41 or 42, you may still qualify.
To calculate your BMI, use our BMI calculator. The chart below will tell you whether Orbera is right for you, plus other options if you’re outside of the ideal range.
|BMI < 30||BMI 30-40||BMI > 40|
|Better candidate for liposuction and/or skin tightening.||Ideal gastric balloon candidate.||Not an ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery; advised to reduce BMI by enrolling in a weight loss program. Call us for a pre-screening if you are borderline.|
You are in Overall Good Health
Women and men who seek to have a gastric balloon placed in their stomach and later removed again will need to be in good health for the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will take your medical history into account to make a health assessment prior to your surgery. One factor that plays a big role in your health assessment is whether you are a smoker or have smoked in the past. Smoking can have a negative effect on your recovery from anesthesia and on wound healing. The surgeon will also want to make sure that you don’t suffer from any chronic conditions that may prolong bleeding or prevent healing.
You Have Realistic Expectations
As with all cosmetic surgery, it is important to have realistic expectations regarding the outcome of your gastric balloon procedure. While most patients see the biggest impact after 2-3 months, the true measure of success will come after six months when the balloon is removed again. You can expect the weight loss to be permanent, because the purpose of the balloon is to adapt your eating habits for the long term.
Patients can expect to lose between 20 and 50 lbs with the help of the balloon, but higher weight loss numbers are not uncommon.
You are NOT a Candidate for a Gastric Balloon if…
- You are outside of the 30-40 BMI range.
- You are unwilling or unable to follow a 12-month program, beginning with the placement of the balloon and continuing for 6 months after, that includes a healthy diet and exercise plan.
- You have had prior bariatric or esophageal surgery.
- You take prescription anti-inflammatories or anticoagulants like blood clot medicines.
- You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant within 6 months, or breastfeeding.
Gastric Balloon vs Other Weight Loss Options
Gastric Balloon vs Diet
Diets come and go. There is always the latest fashionable one, but the reason they often don’t have staying power is that they are simply not that effective in keeping your weight off permanently. You’ll typically see some progress when starting a diet, but it is very hard to keep it up indefinitely, and so you tend to gain the weight right back when you’re done with the diet, or when you throw in the towel at some point.
Diets tend to be successful tools to achieve weight loss in the short term, but more often than not they fail in the long term.
Gastric Balloon vs Exercise
Likewise, exercise is not the most promising way to lose weight. For one, workouts don’t burn as many calories as we like to think. In reality, most exercise only burns off 10-30 percent of our energy intake. Add to that the fact that we tend to increase our food consumption when exercising, losing weight by way of exercising becomes even more difficult.
We’re not saying that exercise isn’t important for your health – it is! It can prevent cancers, lower blood pressure, reduce high levels of cholesterol and sugar, improve sleep patterns, and boost energy levels, not to mention that it positively impacts our mood. But the fact is that taken all by itself, it does not move the needle much in terms of weight loss.
Gastric Balloon vs Gastric Bypass or Other Surgery
Surgical solutions have proven to be very effective in achieving long-term weight loss. Bariatric surgery essentially restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold. The most common such procedures are gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric band. Gastric bypass is considered the “gold standard” among weight loss surgeries.
And yet, while effective, these surgeries don’t work for everyone. Mainly because man patients consider them too invasive. They typically require longer anesthesia, incisions, stitches, and much longer downtime. Man patients can’t afford to or do not want to invest so much time in a weight-loss procedure.
Conclusion: If you are trying to lose weight but have not had any long-term success with diet and exercise, if you want to avoid full-on gastric surgery but are in good general health and in a BMI range between 30 and 40, you are a good candidate for a Gastric Balloon.
Does a Gastric Balloon Work?
The Orbera gastric balloon works amazingly well. By taking up space in your stomach, it allows you to eat less frequently and reduce portion sizes. Over the course of six months, your body adapts to these new eating habits so that by the time the balloon is removed after six months, you are able to maintain your healthier food intake. Regular follow-ups with a dietician to help with meal planning measure your progress ensure that you stay on track. Most patients see the biggest decrease in weight after 2-3 months, and most are able to maintain their weight loss of 20-50 or more lbs long-term.
Your Gastric Balloon Provider in Middle Tennessee
If you are in the Greater Nashville area and are unhappy with your weight, please contact NuBody Concepts about Orbera. If you are not within driving distance of Nashville, ask us about our travel package for out of town patients.
Please contact us to schedule a consultation – in person or virtual – with our gastric surgeon, or to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure. If you’re interested in learning more about the gastric balloon, browse the index of related topics on the right.