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Overview of the gastric balloon procedure

The gastric balloon first came onto the market in 1985, but its implementation was stalled due to minor design flaws as well as the ascent of gastric banding. Physicians and scientists continued to improve the gastric balloon’s engineering, however, and within a decade were creating new models. Although various stomach balloons have been in use in other countries for years, the Orbera and Reshape systems were only approved in the US recently in August of 2015.

The gastric balloon is an exciting breakthrough for moderately obese patients because it offers them the dramatic changes achieved with bariatric surgery, but without the invasive incisions, anesthesia, suturing and post-operative pain. The gastric balloon is also 2 to 3 times as effective as diet and exercise alone, giving clients a positive jumpstart on their weight loss goals. The innovative two-part process involves not just the device implantation, but also continuous dietary counseling, lifestyle coaching and access to personal trainers, so that there is a greater chance of keeping the pounds off long term.

Is there more than one type of gastric balloon?

The Orbera and Reshape balloons have much in common, such as requiring a maximum BMI of 40, no prior GI surgery, and various other conditions such as no active addictions, GI disorders or liver disease, yet they differ in terms of their basic structural design. Orbera consists of a single saline-filled sphere, whereas Reshape has two spheres, taking up more space in the belly. The Reshape system also requires a co-morbidity, or obesity-related secondary ailment like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol or sleep apnea.

How does the gastric balloon technology work?

The concept behind the gastric balloon is that if a patient feels full, they won’t be tempted to overeat, and will thus lose weight almost effortlessly, without cravings or feelings of deprivation.

The client is sedated, after which the deflated sphere is inserted via endoscope and carefully threaded down the esophagus to the abdomen where it is filled with sterilized salt water. The amount of saline can be adjusted to complement the patient’s weight loss goals, lifestyle and wishes.

The gastric balloon insertion process typically takes a half hour, sometimes less. After the implant is in place, it stays there for six months, at which point it is removed in the same fashion. For the second six-month period, the client continues receiving coaching sessions with the OC Athenix team, solidifying their new portion-controlled eating habits and positive lifestyle changes.

How can I tell if a gastric balloon procedure is right for my needs?

A good candidate for the procedure:

  • is 18 or older
  • needs to lose a minimum of 25 lbs
  • has a BMI maximum of 40
  • has tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through conventional dieting and exercise
  • is not ready to try bariatric surgery
  • has not had bariatric surgery in the past
  • suffers from low self-confidence and other emotional effects of being overweight
  • is willing to complete the full 12-month lifestyle coaching program
  • is committed to attending follow up sessions in the Orange County and Irvine areas
  • is okay with having a six-month stomach implant
  • van tolerate having an endoscope in their mouth and throat
  • is not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • does not suffer from active substance abuse issues
  • has not had serious psychiatric issues in the past.

Is there anything special I need to do prior to treatment?

Your first step will be to attend a free private consultation with one of Athenix’ Orange County physicians. He or she will take down your medical history, catalog your prior weight loss attempts, and work with you to make sure the gastric balloon is the best solution for your situation. This may mean consulting with your primary care physician, or allowing you to speak with former clients who have successfully completed the gastric balloon program.

Once you are approved, you will need to prepare by avoiding food and drink for at least 12 hours before treatment. You may need to arrange for someone to drive you home from Athenix since you will be mildly sedated before the procedure.

The Athenix Body Sculpting Institute – Privacy, safety and superior results

Your gastric balloon treatment takes place at our own brand new in-house medical center in Orange County, the Athenix Body Sculpting Institute. Patients enjoy the highest standards of safety, comfort and privacy while having access to world class technology and cutting edge equipment, instruments, diagnostic, imaging and monitoring software, and a professional, experienced support staff. We want you to feel like Athenix is your ‘home away from home’, and we go to great lengths to design an environment that is soothing, healing and peaceful, promoting rapid recovery.

What to expect from gastric balloon insertion

As mentioned, you will only be incapacitated for around 30 minutes while the balloon is inserted. Most clients can return to work the next day, as there is no surgery, incisions or post-operative discomfort associated with the gastric balloon.

After you are sedated, the doctor will use an endoscope, or thin, tubular camera to guide the empty silicone sphere down your throat to the stomach. It is then filled with sterile saline. The endoscope allows the doctor to carefully monitor the balloon’s placement, and make sure it is positioned for your comfort and safety.

After the balloon has been inserted, you will be trafficked to the recovery area where our nurses will observe you for a few extra hours, just to make sure you don’t experience any adverse reactions to the balloon. While rare, some patients do feel nauseous at first as the body adjusts to the device. The doctor can prescribe some mild medications should this be the case, and in general, side effects tend to evaporate within hours or days.

Adopting important lifestyle changes

New eating habits will include:

  • Eating smaller bites and chewing them thoroughly
  • Selecting smaller portions
  • Thriving on protein-based meals
  • Foregoing fried, fatty foods, sweets, heavy salad dressings and sauces, soft drinks, candy, and fake sugars
  • Incorporating more veggies and fruits into your diet
  • Not extending meals past 8pm
  • Abstaining from cigarette smoking
  • Staying plugged into to your Athenix coaching sessions
  • Attending follow up appointments for the full 12 months

Learning to love exercise

Whether you have used exercise in the past to lose weight or not, it will now become your new favorite friend. Our caring, friendly trainers and coaches will work with you to figure out the activities you naturally enjoy and gravitate towards.

Rather than experiencing exercise as a punishment or obligation, you will learn how to have fun outdoors, meet new people and find pleasure in making a game of it. You don’t have to exercise like other people; you can be yourself and still lose the weight! If you prefer dancing at the club, playing competitive Twister, hula hooping or hopscotch to sweating it out at a gym, we say go for it!

How important is it to follow up after treatment?

The answer is, very important! How well you invest in the second half of your Athenix gastric balloon program will truly determine how long you keep the weight off. The first six months with the implant in place is the easy part, because you feel naturally full and satiated. After the balloon is removed, you will need to continue to meet with your coaches, doctors and dieticians to solidify the changes you’ve made in your habits, as well as in your mental outlook and approach to living.

Orange County’s renowned leaders in body sculpting

When you choose Athenix Body Sculpting Institute, you are partnering with a world leader in body contouring and cosmetic procedures. Our reputation for outstanding results, fine-tuned, nuanced technique and compassionate, holistic care has made Athenix among the most trusted gastric balloon providers in the Orange County and Irvine areas.

Our strict safety protocols demand that we perform comprehensive pre-procedure testing, request clearance from your primary care doctor, manage your current medications, and prescribe antibiotics to prohibit infection. This commitment to ensuring your well being continues for the full 12 months of the gastric balloon program.

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Schedule a new patient consultation at no charge and find out if the gastric balloon procedure is right for you.

(949) 203-2748

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