ORBERA Gastric Balloon

7 Things to Know About the ORBERA Gastric Balloon Procedure

January 3, 2018

There is no easy approach to weight loss. It’s always going to be a challenging balancing act. You have to make nutrition and exercise part of your daily routine, and that can be difficult. Personal health sometimes takes a back seat to parenting, work, and caring for family members.

The simple fact is that your health needs to be a top priority because you cannot be there for others if you do not take care of yourself. Also, ongoing weight gain resulting in obesity can have serious effects on your health.

Most patients have tried dieting, personal training, meal plans or even medication to help with weight loss. But often, these aids prove to be only short-term solutions. They may help lose a few pounds at the beginning, but they fail to teach the balancing act necessary to maintain continuous, healthy weight management.

For decades, the only proven, sustainable methods of weight loss were surgical procedures that were invasive. Many people do not qualify for weight loss surgery or do not want an invasive procedure.

We live at a great time because medical advancements have been made in recent years so now there are non-surgical options to choose from. One such option is the ORBERA Gastric Balloon, which helps curb appetite and can set you up for years of successful weight management.

What is the ORBERA Gastric Balloon Procedure?

The ORBERA Gastric Balloon focuses on promoting healthy, long-term habits using regulated portion control with the help of the gastric balloon and dietary support staff. With the ORBERA program, patients lose about three times the weight that they would with diet and exercise alone, making it a great tool to help jump start your weight loss.

The ORBERA Gastric Balloon procedure is the first part of a two-step, year-long program.

A small silicone balloon filled with salt water is placed in the stomach during a simple outpatient procedure that does not require incisions. The balloon takes up space in the stomach to reduce appetite and help with portion control. The entire process takes about 30 minutes, and you are free to go home the same day.

While the balloon is in place, patients find themselves eating smaller portions and experiencing less hunger between meals.  This is where the support staff comes in — consisting of a dietician, nurse practitioner, physicians and other health experts.

7 Things to Know About the ORBERA Gastric Balloon

From our experience with pre-ops and post-ops of the ORBERA Gastric Balloon, below are things that are important for you to know. In addition, the feedback we’ve received from our patients as to what is helpful to them to understand.

  1. Working with the Program Team. Since this is a two-step, year-long program, it is important to have a team that you’ll be working with that has a dietitian, nurse practitioner, and other health experts that will be available to you. It is best that the dietitian and nurse practitioner are easily accessible to you to address medical and nutrition concerns and questions. These two key professionals should be experienced in working with patients who have struggled with weight loss in the past. Personalized care will enhance your success so a one-on-one relationship with the support team is best.
  2. Body Mass Index (BMI). ORBERA is indicated for adults with a BMI 30-40 that are willing to participate in a medically supervised program.
  3. Monthly Check-In. If you’re traveling to a center or if your time for follow-up appointments is limited, make sure you are able to have the convenience of having monthly check-ins over the phone or via email.
  4. One Size Doesn’t Fit All, Diet. When it comes to what you’ll be eating with the ORBERA Gastric Balloon, it isn’t necessary for you to have to follow any one particular diet. Make sure any program you consider will work with you on a diet tailored to you.
  5. Education and Moderation. Long-term success with weight maintenance can be achieved by utilizing the new skills you learned in the ORBERA Gastric Balloon program. It is imperative that your program provides education on portion sizes, nutritious foods, healthy food swaps and moderation. There are absolutely no foods that need to be completely avoided! They key is learning how to eat in moderation, and the ORBERA Gastric Balloon helps to facilitate that.
  6. Weight Loss. Here’s what you can look forward to for your weight loss. During the first few months, patients often experience rapid weight loss with ORBERA. After six months, the ORBERA Gastric Balloon is removed during a simple outpatient procedure.
  7. Long-Term Support. The program you choose for your ORBERA Gastric Balloon shouldn’t end after it is removed. Our patients have lost weight many times but our goal is for their weight loss and maintenance. You want to have access to meet with the dietitian for six more months. This will set you up for success in maintaining your new, healthier lifestyle and to maintain weight loss.

Having the ORBERA Gastric Balloon isn’t another diet and it isn’t an intrusive medical surgery either. It is for patients that have tried diets in the past and struggled with their rigid eating requirements to maintain weight loss long term. Having the procedure, living with it, removal, and maintenance is a process that requires complete access to a full support staff for your education and support.

The outcomes of patients having the ORBERA Gastric Balloon are quite positive. If bariatric surgery isn’t an option for you for whatever reason, the option of having an ORBERA Gastric Balloon is an exciting development in the medical realm of weight loss for you to consider. The ORBERA Gastric Balloon is a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle in a non-surgical way.


Christina Li, M.D., FACS is a board-certified, award-winning physician specializing in laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding, as well as other minimally invasive surgery procedures, utilizing the most advanced robotics. She has been performing bariatric surgery for LifeBridge Health since 2004. She is a Baltimore top doctor for bariatric surgery 2012-2017. Dr. Li is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the American Society of Bariatric & Metabolic Surgeons and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.