Support

We've put together some helpful tools to assist you in your weight loss journey. Below you will find helpful PDFs that are available to download as well as FAQs.

Keeping track of your progress can help ensure you stay motivated on your journey to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Downloads

FAQs

How does the intragastric balloon work?

Once in place, the intragastric balloon is filled with saline to partially fill the stomach, helping a person to feel less hungry, so that they may consume smaller portions of food and experience similar satisfaction to what they would have previously experienced after consuming a larger meal. Most weight is lost in the first three months, but because the intragastric balloon stays in for six months, you will learn the right amount of food to eat to maintain your new weight long-term.

How is the intragastric balloon procedure performed?

The intragastric balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth by a gastroscopy procedure. This does not require any surgery. The physician inserts an endoscopic camera (gastroscope) into the stomach. If no abnormalities are observed, the doctor proceeds with placement of the balloon through the mouth and down the oesophagus into the stomach. Once inside the stomach, the intragastric balloon is filled with sterile saline through a small filling tube attached to the intragastric balloon. Once filled, the doctor removes the tube by gently pulling on the external end, leaving the intragastric balloon inside the stomach.

A qualified specialist gastroenterologist performs this procedure in conjunction with an anaesthetist and trained nursing staff.

Placement of the intragastric balloon takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes, after which patients are monitored by specialist nursing staff in the recovery bay. As this is a ‘day-only’ procedure, patients are generally escorted home within two hours after intragastric balloon insertion.

What is the recovery time?

Recovery time varies from patient to patient; patients usually return to work in around three to five days after the procedure.

Are there any people who shouldn't consider instragastric balloon?

The intragastric balloon is designed to assist with weight loss in people who ideally have 10-30 kilograms of weight to lose. It is suitable for individuals with a BMI > 27.

It is also used for people who are not suitable for other forms of weight loss surgery, or who do not accept the risks involved with weight loss surgery.

The intragastric balloon may also be used to assist in reducing weight prior to surgery, therefore reducing the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.

The intragastric balloon system is NOT right for you if:

  • You have a BMI of less than 27
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • You have had previous gastric surgery, or any of the following conditions:
    • Prior gastrointestinal surgery
    • Major prior or present psychological disorder
    • Any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract
    • Potential upper-gastrointestinal bleeding conditions
    • A large hiatal hernia (larger than 5 cm)
    • A structural abnormality in the oesophagus or pharynx, such as a stricture or diverticulum
  • Any other medical condition that would not permit elective endoscopy
  • You are addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • You are unwilling to participate in an established, medically supervised diet and behaviour modification program
  • You are aspirin, anti-inflammatory agents, anticoagulants, or other gastric irritants not under medical supervision.

My BMI is over 35 and i have diabetes and other illnesses. Must i have a surgical procedure?

No. The intragastric balloon will work just as well for you and can improve or resolve your diabetes and can bring you closer to a more normal weight range. In essence, the intragastric balloon kick-starts natural weight loss through reduced food intake, through a change in diet and increased exercise.

Do I need to follow a special diet in the weeks immediately following the procedure?

Yes. You will be restricted to a liquid diet for the first three days following the procedure.  After a few days on a liquid diet, you will be ready to begin the transition to semi-solids such as porridge, thicker soups and fruit purées. You will begin solid food after approximately one week. How quickly you make this transition will depend on your progress and how well your body is tolerating the liquids. It is important to make the transition slowly, and to try not to rush the adjustment process.

How does weight loss with the intragastric balloon compare to diet programs?

You can expect to lose more weight with the intragastric balloon than with traditional diets. The intragastric balloon gives you a feeling of satiety and thus you are better able to control your eating which helps you to make healthy changes in your habits.

Can I eat anything I want? Are there any food restrictions?

The intragastric balloon will give you a feeling of satiety or fullness so you will not feel like eating as much as you used to. Overeating while the intragastric balloon is in place can be dangerous and can result in severe vomiting.

Can I drink alcohol?

Alcohol in moderation is acceptable but keep in mind that it is calories without nutrition.

Do I have to participate in the follow-up to be successful?

Yes. The intragastric balloon is not a miracle, but rather a tool to help change your lifestyle. Taking part in our program will give you the education and support to change your lifestyle and eating habits and give you a better chance for long-term success. Follow-up can be done in person or by telephone with our dietitian, nurses and surgeons.

What happens if the intragastric balloon leaks?

This is a very rare event but if the intragastric balloon should spontaneously deflate, you may no longer have a feeling of satiety and the physical sensation of the balloon will disappear. If you suspect this may be the case, notify the clinic as soon as possible. A simple abdominal x-ray can determine whether either has occurred. We will arrange for the deflated intragastric balloon to be removed with a gastroscopic procedure similar to how the balloon was inserted. The surgeon will place a coloured dye inside the intragastric balloon in order to help patients clearly identify early deflation by a change in the colour of their urine.

What happens if the intragastric balloon deflates spontaneously?

Your doctor will place a coloured dye inside the intragastric balloon called Methlyene Blue. This will help you clearly identify early deflation or leakage as it will change the colour of your urine to green. The intragastric balloon is small enough that it may pass through the intestines and leave the body naturally but there have been some cases in which it has had to be removed from the bowel surgically. If you suspect a deflation you must notify your doctor immediately.

How long does the intragastric balloon stay in the stomach?

The intragastric balloon can be placed in the stomach for a six month period. Should your doctor recommend use of the intragastric balloon for longer than six months, it is necessary that the original intragastric balloon be replaced with a new one. While you are using the intragastric balloon, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral medication to reduce your stomach acid – this may reduce the possibility of stomach irritation and damage to the intragastric balloon.

Can the intragastric balloon be left in longer than six months?

Longer periods of use than six months are not recommended because the acidic content of your stomach can weaken the intragastric balloon material and cause the intragastric balloon to deflate. Should your surgeon recommend use of the intragastric balloon for longer than six months, it must be replaced with a new intragastric balloon at the end of the six month period.

How will the intragastric balloon be removed?

The intragastric balloon is removed in the same way it was placed in your stomach, via the oesophagus and mouth. Using an endoscopic camera, the doctor introduces a catheter through the mouth and into the stomach. The intragastric balloon is then punctured and deflated. Once the intragastric balloon is deflated it can be grasped and removed. This is no different to a simple gastroscopy or upper endoscopy procedure.

How much weight can I lose with the intragastric balloon?

It is important for you to understand that the intragastric balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and must be used in conjunction with diet, exercise and a behaviour modification program. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes. Weight loss varies, but the average is up to 10-15kg*.

What are the possible side-effects associated with the intragastric balloon?

It is very likely that the presence of the intragastric balloon in the stomach will cause nausea or vomiting for a few days after placement. Your doctor will prescribe medication to help minimise these potential effects but these can persist during the first week. There exists the possibility that you will lose only a small amount of weight or lose no weight at all while using the intragastric balloon. Of course your commitment to dietary and behavioural changes will determine your success.

Will I be able to feel the intragastric balloon in my stomach?

There will be discomfort during the first few days after the procedure. From then on, the intragastric balloon will give you a feeling of fullness. Some people can feel their intragastric balloon externally, others cannot. After the first week it does not cause any discomfort.

How long will it take to recover after the procedure?

You should plan at least five days of inactivity to recover from the procedure. You will be able to resume normal activity sooner or later than this depending on how quickly your body adjusts to the balloon.

Does the intragastric balloon require frequent visits to my doctor after the procedure?

The follow-up program is critical to success of the intragastric balloon and in learning new lifestyle skills. You will meet with your support team at least once-a-month while the intragastric balloon is in place. During this time your progress will be evaluated and you will learn valuable principles of health, nutrition and exercise that will provide you a foundation for long-term success.

Will the intragastric balloon limit my activities?

During the first week of the procedure you should not plan any heavy activities. Once your body has adjusted to the intragastric balloon you can continue your normal activities. Starting a regular exercise program is highly recommended and will improve your success.

Will people close to me know I have the intragastric balloon?

No. There are no visible scars or marks because there is no surgery and it is completely discrete. No one will know unless you tell them.

Will I gain the weight back after removing the intragastric balloon?

It is shown that, provided you keep to the prescribed diet and exercise regime, you will have achieved greater weight loss than through dieting alone at 24 months. Diet stimulates your body into thinking it is starving. This then activates mechanisms to regain weight. The intragastric balloon ‘fools’ your body into thinking it is full, preventing those mechanisms from being activated. This gives you the kick-start you need to lose your excess weight. Then, if you stick to your new, healthy lifestyle you will be well on the way to maintaining your weight loss.

How much does the ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss Program cost?

This is a question you will need to ask your doctor. As the Program is not covered by the public health system or Medicare it is highly recommended that you have private health insurance in place before you go ahead with this option.

SPEAK TO AN EXPERT

*Weight loss results vary from person to person. 

  • BMI Calculator

    Use the BMI Calculator to help determine whether you should be taking action towards a healthier lifestyle.

  • Real people, real success

    See what some of these ORBERA® Program patients have to say about their weight loss journey.

    Watch now
  • Is it right for me?

    See if you’re ready to take the first step with ORBERA®.

    Read more