What is the Orbera balloon?

The Orbera balloon is a gastric balloon used to help overweight or obese patients lose weight by inducing a sensation of fullness and limiting the amount of food they can eat. The inflatable device is made from silicon and is recommended as a temporary non-surgical way to improve weight loss and help with portion control by taking up space in the stomach.

What does the procedure involve?

Before the procedure, you will have a consultation with Dr Govender, and he will explain what the surgery will entail. During your consultation, he will also assess whether or not you are eligible for a gastric balloon as it is a serious procedure that will require you to work together with various health care members including a dietician, fitness team and even a psychiatrist. If a gastric balloon is a good option for you, Dr Govender will help you prepare for the procedure.

While the procedure is done non-surgically using an endoscope, it is performed using sedation. Dr Govender will then insert a gastroscope through the oesophagus into the stomach. With a camera attached to the gastroscope, he will determine the ideal place for the balloon. The deflated Orbera balloon is then inserted, and a syringe is used to fill the balloon with a sterile saline solution until inflated to the size of a grapefruit. This balloon then takes up space in the stomach to help give the sensation of being full, assisting patients to lose weight.

What can I expect after the procedure?

In most cases, the procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and the recovery only 2 hours. You may experience temporary side-effects such as nausea, bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. These are all normal and should subside within a day or two. Afterwards, you will need to follow a specific diet to allow your stomach to adjust to the presence of the balloon. Your dietician will help you with this.

What happens after the gastric balloon is removed?

Depending on your specific requirements the gastric balloon can be left in place for six or twelve months. After six months the gastric balloon is removed the same way it was inserted using a gastroscopy. How much weight can be lost with the help of a gastric balloon will depend on the person and the lifestyle changes made. Once the balloon has been removed, it is essential that patients continue to maintain a good exercise routine and healthy eating habits to ensure the long-term success of the gastric balloon. Dr Govender along with your dietician, fitness team and psychiatrist will be there to instil a positive and healthy mindset and support you while achieving your weight loss goals.