NONSURGICAL WEIGHT LOSS DEVICE
Approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Obalon is a temporary system of three balloons that are swallowed and then inflated to take up space in the stomach, ensuring that less food is eaten. Obalon is indicated for six-month placement to aid in weight loss in tandem with a moderate-intensity diet and behavior modification program. Obalon may be considered as a treatment for people with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40 kg/m2 who have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, and who have not undergone bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
What does it involve?
The goal of Obalon is to take up space in your stomach, making it easier to eat less. Meanwhile, you will undergo a diet and behavior modification program designed help you change habits that promote obesity.
Obalon balloon placement takes place in your doctor’s office. Obalon balloons begin as capsules connected to slender catheters. The capsule is swallowed into the stomach, and its placement is checked via x-ray. Once placed, the balloon is then inflated via the catheter. The gas that fills the balloon is a combination of nitrogen (a gas plentiful in air) and sulfur hexafluoride (an inert gas commonly used in medical tests and surgery). Once the balloon is inflated, the catheter is disconnected and retrieved. Balloon placement takes about 10 minutes. Sedation is not necessary during balloon placement.
The second and third balloons are usually placed between 14 and 28 days and between 56 and 91 days respectively after the first balloon is placed.
Obalon balloons are designed to remain in the stomach for as long as six months. At the end of six months, all balloons will be accessed via endoscopy. You will be under sedation during the endoscopic removal process. During endoscopy, a slender surgical instrument will be inserted into the mouth and down the throat to the stomach. The balloons will be punctured and removed.
While Obalon is in place, you will need to take medication daily to control acid production in your stomach.
Obalon balloon placement and removal are outpatient procedures.
In a clinical trial involving 387 people, two-thirds of participants achieved clinically meaningful weight loss. On average, participants had maintained 89 percent of the weight lost with Obalon six months after the balloons were removed.
Obalon may not be effective for you.
Common side effects of the Obalon system were vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, and gastric reflux, most of which were temporary for many participants in the trial.
Rare but serious side effects of Obalon include stomach ulcers, gastritis, and bowel obstruction requiring surgical removal. Rarely during removal, there have been episodes of cardiac or respiratory arrest (heart or breathing stopped) during the removal process; these are usually associated with underlying medical conditions.
Rarely, endoscopy can cause bleeding, bruising, swelling, or perforation of the esophagus.
You will need to change your lifestyle significantly during Obalon placement, and maintain these changes after Obalon removal to maintain your weight loss results.
If you lose a lot of weight quickly during Obalon placement, you may develop significant amounts of loose skin. Some people feel embarrassed about the way the loose skin looks, and some choose to have plastic surgery to remove it.
Depending on your diagnosis and what type of healthcare insurance plan you have, your plan may not cover all or any of the costs of Obalon.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Obalon – Obalon Therapeutics
Upper endoscopy – Mayo Clinic