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Obalon® Balloon For Non-Surgical Weight Loss

Advances in weight loss surgery options have made it possible to provide solutions for a wider range of patients. Some individuals need to lose fewer pounds to reach a healthy weight, and others would like to jumpstart their weight loss prior to having bariatric surgery. At our practice, top bariatric surgeon Hossein Bagshahi, MD offers the Obalon® Balloon System for individuals interested in losing weight without having a surgical operation.

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What Is the Obalon® Weight Loss Balloon System?

Obalon is the first and only swallowable, FDA-approved balloon system for medical weight loss. The Obalon® Balloon System helps facilitate weight loss by taking up space in your stomach, so you eat less. Three balloons are placed for a six-month non-surgical treatment, combined with a professionally supervised nutrition and exercise program for optimal weight loss. Patients in the clinical study lost twice as much weight as with diet and exercise alone. During treatment you should receive professional nutrition and exercise support to help you make the lifestyle changes that promote weight loss. Obalon® supports you to help change your eating habits and keep the weight off for the long term.

What Are the Benefits of the Obalon® Balloon System?

In addition to being a non-surgical option, Obalon offers numerous benefits, including:

Who Can Get the Obalon® Balloon System?

You are a candidate for the Obalon® Balloon System if you have a body mass index (BMI) from 30 to 40 kg/m2 (30 to 100 pounds overweight) and are 22 years of age or older. The program begins with placement of the Obalon® balloons in your stomach for up to six months. The program should be accompanied by a healthy diet and exercise program during the time you have the balloons. It is recommended for six months, after which point the balloons are removed.

What Happens During the Obalon® Procedure?

The placement of each Obalon® Balloon typically takes less than 10 minutes and the procedure doesn’t require sedation. You will swallow a capsule containing a small balloon, after which Dr. Bagshahi will inflate it.

After six months, all three balloons are removed in one procedure utilizing general anesthesia and a breathing tube for improved safety. The removal procedure is typically no longer than 15 minutes.

Is There Recovery After the Obalon® Procedure?

There is typically no downtime after the balloon placement procedure and patients can resume normal activities right away. You will need to avoid stomach-irritating medications while the balloons are placed, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Motrin® or Advil®. The balloons are not designed for patients who live at altitudes higher than 4,000 feet or lower than 2,500 feet where the balloons are placed. More information about aftercare following Obalon® balloon placement can be found on the “Safety Information” and “Patient Labeling” sections of the paperwork provided by Dr. Bagshahi.

What Results Can I Expect from the Obalon® Balloon System?

After the balloons are placed, you will work with Dr. Bagshahi and his team to establish healthier habits with regard to your food choices, portion control, and frequency of exercise. Since the balloons are designed to take up space in the stomach, you can expect to not consume as much food as you did previously. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your progress and help us support your weight loss journey. In clinical studies, the Obalon® system was shown to achieve twice as much weight loss when paired with a physician-supervised nutritional program than traditional dieting and exercise alone.

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Does the Obalon® Balloon System Have Side Effects?

While patients typically have a good experience using Obalon®, some side effects may occur. If you note a loss of fullness, sudden increase in hunger, or increase in weight, you should discuss these symptoms with Dr. Bagshahi, as it may indicate balloon deflation. Some patients may have some abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or a sensation of balloon movement initially. These effects often fade within a few days, although balloon sensation may be more pronounced if a single balloon is placed. Gas, belching, and bloating are also sometimes reported.

How Much Does the Obalon® Balloon System Cost?

The total price of the Obalon® Balloon System will depend on your treatment plan and unique needs. The average cost for Obalon runs between $6,000 and $9,000. This number includes three balloons, placement, removal, and accompanying diet and exercise support. During your initial consultation, Dr. Bagshahi and our medical team will review the full cost of your treatment, which may be covered by your medical insurance. We also work with bariatric surgery financing agencies should you choose to pay out of pocket.

Additional Obalon® Balloon FAQs

Is the Obalon® Balloon covered by insurance?

While the Obalon® Balloon System is not usually covered by medical insurance, our Fort Worth practice accepts financing plans from some of the most reputable healthcare lending companies in the country, such as CareCredit®, Prosper® Healthcare Lending, and United Medical® Credit. After gaining approval through the simple application process, each of these financial institutions offers low- to no-interest payment plans that can make it more affordable for you to manage out-of-pocket costs. Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you would like to learn more about your financing options or the cost of the Obalon® system.

How big are the balloons? Will they stretch my stomach?

When fully inflated, each Obalon® balloon has a volume of 250 cc and weighs approximately three grams. This equates to roughly the size of a small orange with a weight of less than a penny. When all three balloons are placed in the stomach, their combined volume is about 750 cc.

Do I have to follow a special diet or exercise program after placement of an Obalon® Balloon?

Yes, committing to a physician-supervised nutrition and exercise program is key to long-lasting weight loss success. The goal of the Obalon® system is to develop new, healthy lifestyle skills that you can maintain even after the six-month treatment ends. That said, your short- and long-term results will ultimately depend on your readiness to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Will I have any restrictions once the balloons are placed?

Other than avoiding NSAIDs and other stomach-provoking medications, there should be no major activity restrictions while the balloons are placed. Dr. Bagshahi will give you more information about what to expect with the Obalon® system when he treats you in person.

How are the balloons removed?

The Obalon® balloons are removed during a mild endoscopic procedure. This typically does not last more than 15 minutes and you will be able to return home on the same day as your appointment. Depending on whether general anesthesia or conscious sedation is utilized during the removal procedure, you may or may not need to enlist someone to take you to and from your appointment.

Ready to learn more about the Obalon® Balloon System? Contact Dr. Bagshahi to schedule a consultation and find out if this method can help you become healthier without surgery.