What is the Obalon Intragastric Balloon System?

i Nov 7th No Comments by

Obalon intragastric balloon system logo

Obalon balloon, plastic model of a stomachObalon® Intragastric Balloon System is a swallowable, 3-balloon system to help obese individuals lose weight. Obalon is the first and only swallowable balloon in the market and is approved by FDA. As with other gastric balloon options, Obalon is a non-surgical procedure.

New Generation of Obalon

The older generations of Obalon were to be removed 3 months after the first balloon placement, but the new generation is designed to stay in the stomach for up to 6 months. The longer therapy cycle results in more weight loss and better success in maintaining it long term. It is worth noting that previous generations of Obalon was not FDA-approved and was available outside of U.S., such as Mexico. The new generation is FDA-approved and is only available in U.S.

How Does it Work?

Obalon BalloonA deflated capsule (size of a vitamin pill) is swallowed by mouth. Once the physician confirms that the capsule is safely in the stomach, it is inflated with gas and catheter is detached. Unlike the traditional gastric balloon, there is no need for endoscopy and no need for sedation. However, the extraction of the balloon system needs to be done endoscopically. Each balloon has a volume of 250cc and the placement of each balloon takes about 10 minutes.

To help patients overcome weight loss plateaus, a second balloon and a third balloon are swallowed in 4 weeks and 12 weeks after the first one, respectively. As was mentioned earlier, the Obalon Generation 3 balloon system is left in the stomach for 6 months rather than 3 months. Since Obalon is gas-filled, the balloons are light and float to the top of the stomach with no pressure on the pancreas (as it is the case with liquid-filled balloons).

Who Qualifies?

The Obalon Intragastric Balloon system is intended for temporary use to facilitate weight loss in adults over 22 years old with a BMI of 30 – 40 who have failed to lose weight with other weight loss methods. Obese individuals can lose weight twice as much with the Obalon balloon system combined with diet & exercise compared to diet & exercise alone.


Patients can lose up to 50% of their excess weight or 10% of their weight. An average of 89% of the weight loss is reported to be kept off 6 months after removal. Professional nutrition and exercise support are needed during treatment for successful weight loss.

Risks, Limitations, and Complications

There are over 10,000 patients who have received the Obalon balloon system with 0.3% incidence of serious adverse device events. Abdominal pain and nausea typically resolved in 1 to 2 weeks. The gastric ulcers reported in 0.9% of individuals with 3% cases of early removal.

Gastric irritating medicines, aspirin, anti-inflammatory agents (such as Advil or Motrin) cannot be taken while the balloons are in your stomach. You cannot live at an altitude more than 4000 feet higher or 2500 feet lower than the location where balloons were placed In your stomach.

Obalon System Cost

The cost of the Obalon balloon system package is around 6,000 to 9,000 USD depending on the geographic location and the physician. The package includes insertion of 3 balloons, nutrition support, and removal. Insurance is not covering this procedure at this time.

* Photos taken from Obalon booth at the ObesityWeek 2017 – The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery – Washington, DC. October 29, 2017 – November 2, 2017. Gaylord National Resort

Duodenal Switch vs. Gastric Sleeve

i Jun 9th No Comments by

Once it is found that you qualify for bariatric surgery, you and your doctor are going to need to determine the option that makes the most sense for your health, BMI, budget, and commitment to weight loss. One of the most common options used by bariatric surgeons today is known as the gastric sleeve, or the “vertical sleeve gastrectomy.”

Yet despite the success of gastric sleeve there is another related surgery, known as the duodenal switch, that may support greater weight loss in patients. But how do gastric sleeve and duodenal switch compare? We explore the two options in this article. (more…)

Which Weight Loss Surgery Forum Should I Join?

i Jun 9th 1 Comment by

Weight loss surgery is the most effective way to lose substantial amounts of weight when all other forms of weight loss have failed. But it is not a magic pill. Those that undergo bariatric surgery still need to motivate themselves to maintain their diet and exercise requirements and challenge themselves to continue to meet their weight loss goals.

Studies have shown that one of the best ways to do this is by surrounding yourself with support and that support groups and spending time with others that are going through weight loss surgery or have recovered from obesity may be one of the key factors in determining the success of the surgery. (more…)

Life Expectancy When Morbidly Obese

i Jun 9th No Comments by

Morbid obesity can present a number of different health challenges. From difficulty sleeping to the risk of Type II diabetes, obesity is considered a severe public health crisis, contributing to dozens of diseases and a very low quality of life.

Morbid obesity is also known to reduce life expectancy dramatically. Studies have shown that those that struggle with obesity may be eliminating years from their life and reducing their quality of life during those final years. (more…)

Pouch Resetting After Weight Loss Surgery

i Jun 6th 1 Comment by

Gastric bypass surgery is considered one of the most effective solutions for weight loss in those with obesity that have struggled to lose weight. The surgery limits the number of calories a patient can eat, greatly reducing their hunger and automatically lowering their BMI. It’s typical for most patients to lose well over a hundred pounds during the one or two years that follow surgery, with an average of 60% excess weight loss. (more…)

How to Appeal Insurance Denial for Weight Loss Surgery

i Jun 6th No Comments by

Bariatric surgery is often a necessary step to save those struggling with morbid obesity that are unable to lose weight without help. While it is considered a last resort for weight loss patients, it is also one of the most effective and life-saving techniques available for addressing the challenges associated with obesity. (more…)

What Bariatric Surgeries Are Covered By Insurance?

i Jun 6th No Comments by

Bariatric surgeries are effective at helping obese patients who haven’t otherwise been able to lose weight find a medical solution that is proven effective at supporting weight loss. For many, it is a lifesaving procedure, but due to their high costs, most patients need their health insurance carrier to help them pay for the surgery. (more…)

How to Shrink Your Liver Before Weight Loss Surgery

i May 27th No Comments by


Obesity causes significant stress and damage to the body. From diabetes to sleep apnea to heart disease, there are dozens of changes that obesity makes to the body that can affect your health and potentially reduce your lifespan. (more…)

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Forbidden Foods, Avoid Them After Surgery

i Mar 27th 10 Comments by

Gastric Sleeve Forbidden Foods

Also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the stomach by 85%. During the surgery, a section of the stomach is removed leaving a thin tube-shaped stomach. Because the stomach is so much smaller, the patient will feel full faster and consume less food leading to weight loss. (more…)

Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery Statistics (Updated 2015)

i Mar 27th No Comments by

Current Statistics on Bariatric Surgery

Obesity Surgery StatisticsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, the obesity rate in America is somewhere between 26-32%, almost 1 in 3 Americans. Since 1988, the average American male has gained over 17 pounds while the average female has gained about 15 ½, Spotlight on Obesity reports. If these trends continue, nearly 43% of all Americans will be obese by 2018. The CDC also reports that the annual medical cost of obesity in America is $147 billion and the annual medical cost for obese persons versus average weight individuals is $1,429 more. (more…)