The term gastric balloon has been around since the mid-1980s, mainly used to treat people with excess weight or obesity problems. From the first experiment called the gastric bubble (GEBG) by Garren-Edwards in 1985 until today, technology has advanced in systems to help lose weight, such as gastric balloons.
With the options that the market offers today like Orbera, ReShape, and Spatz3 balloons, it is necessary to conduct a deep analysis and comparison of each one of them to find the best option for you. The patient should take into account the success rate of each procedure, the real results it has produced, the side effects it has (if any), and most importantly if it is approved by the FDA.
What Gastric Balloons Have Been Approved by the FDA?
When looking for weight loss procedures like a gastric balloon, it is essential to ensure that the procedure is approved by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration in the USA). At this time, there are three types of gastric balloon procedures that the FDA approves. These FDA-approved balloon systems include:
- Orbera® Intragastric Balloon System (ORBERA Weight Loss Balloon);
- ReShape™ Duo (ReShape Double Weight Loss Balloon);
- Obalon® Balloon Systems (Obalon Gastric Balloon/Obalon Balloon Pill).
The only device that has not yet been approved in the United States is the Spatz 3 Adjustable (Spatz3 Balloon Gastric Balloon).
Why Choose the Gastric Balloon?
Fortunately, today when choosing a gastric balloon as an option to lose weight, we can find different options like Orbera, ReShape Duo, Spatz3, and the Obalon balloon system. The gastric balloon procedure is the most popular among patients who want and need to lose weight because it is the least invasive option of all the options that exist today.
Patients will experience the most aggressive weight loss in the first few months of treatment. In this period of time, patients can lose up to 20-45 pounds, and after 6 or 12 months of treatment, patients can lose up to 50 pounds.
Depending on the type of the balloon system and the needs of the patients, the duration of gastric balloon treatment can last from six months to a year. Typically, balloon patients will not lose as much weight as other weight loss procedures (like endoscopic gastric sleeve procedure, for example).
How Gastric Balloon Works
The gastric balloon is a non-surgical, minimally invasive, outpatient weight loss procedure. A silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach endoscopically through the mouth and the esophagus until it reaches the stomach to locate the device. An endoscope is a thin tube that is used to reach the stomach with the ability to implant the balloon safely and without harming the body, without causing cuts or incisions that leave a scar.
After being implanted in the correct place, the balloon will be filled with a saline solution until it is the size of a grapefruit and will occupy some space in the stomach to make the patient feel fuller with smaller amounts of food. Essentially, all of the gastric balloon brands we are discussing today are done the same way. Obalon balloon (a balloon that has been discontinued and is no longer produced) is a device that does not require anesthesia or sedation.
The ball was the size of a pill and the patient had to send it to his stomach by drinking several glasses of water. The other procedures, such as Orbera Reshape and Spatz, are performed through an endoscope on an outpatient basis, without cuts or scars.
What Complications Can a Gastric Balloon Have?
The gastric balloon for weight loss is a safe technique that is not usually associated with serious complications. In the first few days after the procedure, nausea or vomiting can happen in some patients. This is because the stomach identifies a foreign body and tries to expel it. These symptoms can last for several days and disappear spontaneously.
What Are the Benefits and Results of the Gastric Balloon?
Generally speaking, the most expected and important result and benefit is weight loss. As we have mentioned, it is estimated that patients can obtain a reduction of up to 20% of the patient’s weight in the first 6 months after balloon implantation. However, when we refer to total weight loss after having adopted new eating habits and a healthier lifestyle, the patient can lose up to 50% of the initial body weight.
All this will depend on the type of gastric balloon used. But the most important thing is that the patient is committed to a complete lifestyle change. This way, the results of the gastric balloon will be more noticeable in the long term. The gastric balloon is not a magical solution, it is a tool that will help you lose weight, but it also implies a proper diet, a daily exercise routine, staying hydrated, and following the instructions of our medical staff.
Studies show that 80% of weight loss occurs in the first three months, which means that one of the main benefits of the gastric balloon system is that it helps accelerate weight loss and minimize the side effects caused by many “hunger-based” or “eat less” diets.
What Is the Best Gastric Balloon for Me?
In terms of comparison, we could compare the Orbera and ReShape Duo gastric balloons. In general terms, these two brands are similar when it comes to weight loss. Orbera is less risky as studies have shown that very few patients have had the device removed before 6 months. If we compare Orbera vs ReShape vs Spatz as the best option for long-term weight loss, it would make sense to consider the Orbera gastric balloon over the competition because apart from being very effective, it is also FDA approved.
One of the factors to take into account when choosing a gastric balloon for weight loss would be the economic factor. These types of procedures have not yet been approved for coverage by health insurance. This means that the patient must assume the total cost of the procedure.
The price ranges from $5,500 to $7,500 depending on the place where the procedure is performed. In some practices like Innova Weight Loss Solutions, the price is all-inclusive. It includes the implantation and removal of the balloon, the costs of the procedure room, anesthesia, and provider fees as well as aftercare (nutritional counseling after the procedure and more).
At Innova Weight Loss Solutions we deeply care about the well-being of our patients and for this reason, we offer an all-inclusive gastric balloon plan. For more information, you can contact us at (787) 925-2225 in Puerto Rico or you can call us at (917) 806-3341 in New York City to get more information about our weight loss procedures.