Intragastric Balloon: A Nonsurgical Alternative

An intragastric balloon can benefit patients looking to lose a significant amount of weight without undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve. During the intragastric balloon procedure, Dr. Liza María Pompa González will insert an ORBERA® gastric balloon inside your stomach to reduce its capacity for food by half. The size of the gastric balloon will vary depending on the patients’ stomach size, gender, and height. This procedure is performed at our state-of-the-art surgical facility at LIMARP® in Tijuana, Mexico. With an intragastric balloon, patients can experience the long-term benefits of learning portion control while simultaneously losing weight.*

What Is an Intragastric Balloon Procedure?

This treatment involves inserting a saline-filled silicone balloon inside your stomach to help you feel fuller faster by limiting the amount of food consumed. Although stomach size varies from one patient to the next, the average stomach is around 1.5 liters in volume. Once the silicone balloon is inserted into your stomach, it is filled with a saline solution in order to occupy about half of your stomach.

Video: A Noninvasive Bariatric Treatment

At LIMARP International Center of Excellence for Obesity in Tijuana, MX, we offer intragastric balloon surgery as a noninvasive bariatric treatment. Rather than making an incision, Dr. Liza Maria Pompa González can insert the balloon directly into the stomach through the esophagus. Once placed, the balloon is inflated and restricts the amount of food you can eat during each meal.

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The ORBERA intragastric balloon provides patients with a nonsurgical approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life.

At LIMARP, we use the ORBERA Intragastric Balloon, a resilient gastric balloon made from soft silicone. After a six-month period, most patients are able to lose a significant amount of weight – up to three times more than with regular diet and exercise alone.*

Deflated and inflated intragastric balloon

Placing the balloon decreases the volume the stomach can hold by about half.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Before beginning the procedure, Dr. Pompa will perform a diagnostic endoscopy to ensure you are a good candidate. At LIMARP, the intragastric balloon procedure is performed as a simple, nonsurgical outpatient procedure under mild sedation in less than 30 minutes. 

To begin, your throat is numbed with a local anesthetic spray. This will help keep you comfortable during your treatment. Using a tiny endoscopic camera, the deflated ORBERA gastric balloon is inserted into your stomach through your esophagus. Dr. Pompa will then use a small catheter or tube to fill the balloon with approximately 400 to 700 milliliters of sterile saline solution. After the appropriate amount of fluid has been added, the catheter will be removed and the built-in seal will close the balloon. Once placed and inflated, the balloon will float around inside the stomach, as it is too large to pass through the gastrointestinal tract.

Once your procedure is complete, you will then be taken to a comfortable recovery room. Our surgical team will monitor you for approximately two hours before releasing you to go home.

What to Expect during Recovery

Immediately after the procedure, a trusted friend or family member will need to drive you home. We recommend that someone stay with you for the first 24 hours to help you during your initial recovery time. Due to the endoscopic nature of the procedure, it is normal for the throat to feel sore for a day or two. Most patients are able to return to work and normal routines in approximately three days.* 

You will be placed on a 14-day transition diet to help you adjust to your new eating habits. On the first day, you will drink clear liquids only. The rest of the week, you will be on a liquid diet which may include items like broth and fruit juices. Days seven through 14, you will graduate to a pureed food diet. This will help you transition to solid foods again.

Life after Intragastric Balloon Placement

With the intragastric balloon in place, you will feel full sooner after meals, causing you to eat less and lose weight in the process. During this time, it is important to change long-term eating habits. You will work closely with a dietician and specialist trained in the ORBERA weight loss system to maximize your results. Your new healthy habits will not only aid you in achieving your weight loss goals, but also help you maintain a healthy weight. Patients typically achieve the most weight loss in the first six months.* 

Once you have successfully responded to your new and improved healthy lifestyle, the balloon will be deflated and removed. It is important that once the balloon is removed you continue your healthy eating habits and exercise plan.

Benefits of the Intragastric Balloon Procedure

Compared to other surgical weight loss procedures, the intragastric balloon procedure provides patients with many benefits,* including:

  • Nonsurgical treatment

  • Reversible treatment

  • No incisions or sutures
  • Minimal recovery
  • Fast and effective results

Are There Risks?

Placement of an intragastric balloon is a relatively safe procedure. However, like all medical treatments, it does carry some risks. Potential complications include:

  • Anesthesia: Some patients may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia used. In most cases, however, full sedation is not required. 
  • Over-inflation: If too much saline is used to fill the intragastric balloon, it can result in abdominal pain, vomiting, swelling, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms may occur as early as one week after the procedure. Removal of the balloon is often necessary to address this complication.
  • Punctured esophagus: As with any endoscopic procedure, there is a small possibility that the scope could puncture the esophagus. This complication is extremely rare.
  • Stomach blockage: In some instances, it is possible for the balloon to deflate and cause a blockage. Most intragastric balloons are filled with a dye that will change the color of your urine if deflated. It is important to contact your doctor right away should this occur. 
  • Stomach ulcer: To reduce the risk of a stomach ulcer, your doctor may prescribe an anti-ulcer medication. This is usually taken the entire time the balloon is in the stomach. 
  • Stomach rupture: Extremely rare, stomach rupture typically only occurs if you have undergone a previous stomach surgery. Therefore, most surgeons will not perform the procedure if you have a history of stomach procedures. It is also important to note that if an ulcer or hiatus hernia is discovered during treatment, the procedure will be stopped for safety reasons. 
  • Acute pancreatitis: A sudden inflammation of the pancreas, acute pancreatitis may occur if the balloon places excessive pressure on the internal organs. Symptoms of this condition can include severe back or abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, or loss of appetite. Removing the intragastric balloon is the only remedy for this condition. 

We will fully educate you on each of these potential risks and ways you can protect your health throughout treatment. 

Contact Us Today

The ORBERA intragastric balloon provides patients with a nonsurgical approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life. If you are interested in learning more about this weight loss technique, contact our office online or call (866) 585-3298 and schedule your consultation with Dr. Pompa.*

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