Your specialist’s team will give you specific instructions on what to do the day prior to and of your procedure but in general, you can expect the following…
For Orbera and Reshape Gastric Balloons
Arrange for a Driver
You will likely be receiving sedation for the procedure so you will not be able to drive home under the influence of the sedating medication. You may feel able to drive, but trust us, you can’t. If you don’t have a family member or friend to take you, your specialist office may use a transport service that can help you out.
Remove All Piercings
Different types of medical equipment can interact with metal piercings so it’s just better to be safe than sorry. Ask your specialist’s staff if there are any specific restrictions, but when in doubt, just remove them all.
Remove Eye Contacts
No need for them and you don’t want to have to mess with them or lose them.
Leave Valuables at Home
Better safe than sorry.
Most places like you there about 60-90 minutes before your procedure time to make sure you’re all set for the procedure. You’ll likely change into a hospital gown and then the nurses will administer the sedating medication through an IV, a little bit of oxygen may also be administered to keep you calm and comfortable.
Wake up When it’s All Done
The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes but it’ll seem like nothing to you. Once the nurses administer the sedation meds, next thing you’ll know they’re telling you it’s all done!
They will likely keep you another 1-2 hours just to be sure you’re feeling okay before you go home. Some nausea is to be expected immediately after the balloon is inflated. Once you can easily drink some fluids, you’ll be ready for discharge.
Get Your Discharge Instructions
Each specialist will have specific discharge instructions so be sure you get a print out or have someone write them down for you before you go.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
But only a little at a time!! It’s very important you stay well hydrated after your procedure. You won’t be able to eat solids for a while so it’s important you drink a lot of fluids but only small amounts at a time, you have a balloon in there now! Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Be Aware of Side Effects
Expect to feel nauseous, extremely full, have some abdominal discomfort and possible vomiting as your body gets used to the balloon over the first few days. You can get through these unpleasant but common side effects. You’ll likely be given some medications to help decrease the severity of the side effects. HOWEVER, if anything becomes severe, or you experience pain and continuous vomiting, contact your specialist immediately and/or proceed to the nearest emergency department.
For the Obalon Gastric Balloon
Drive to Your Specialist’s Office
No sedation is required for placement of the Obalon balloons so you can drive if you want to.
Swallow the Capsule
The deflated Obalon balloon is compressed within a capsule about the size of a vitamin pill. The balloon is attached to a micro-catheter (a tiny tube used to inflate the balloon). You’ll be able to drink some water to help get the pill down.
Next, you’ll have an X-ray done to confirm that the capsule is safely in your stomach
The Physician Inflates the Balloon
The capsule will start to dissolve in your stomach. Once the capsule is dissolved, your physician will start to inflate the balloon with nitrous gas which is safe inside your body. It is inflated to about the size of a small orange or 250 cc.
Removal of the Catheter
Once the balloon is inflated, the microcatheter is removed, it might feel a little weird but shouldn’t be painful.
Once you’re done (total procedure time usually just about 10-15 mins), you’re free to go about your daily activities. You’ll be on a restricted diet for a few days after having the balloon placed, so read on to know what to expect in that regards, but most go about their normal activities since no sedation is used for the Obalon.
You can expect to feel some mild abdominal discomfort and nausea. Serious side effects including severe pain and vomiting were reported in less than 0.3% according to the Obalon site.
Follow the Post-Procedure Diet
Read on for the post-procedure diet and other lifestyle recommendations.
Return for Balloons #2 and #3
You’ll repeat this process two more times, to have a total of 3 small balloons in your stomach. They are all usually placed within the first 3 months and removed all at once after 6 months.
Diet for the First Week
Liquids, liquids, liquids! It will keep you from feeling too nauseous as you get used the balloon. Aim for at least 60-80 fluid ounces a day.
- Sugar-free, low or no-calorie drinks recommended
- Drinks with added protein
- Diet Lemonade, decaf tea or coffee
- Popsicles (no sugar added)
- AVOID – Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks unless approved by your specialist
- Protein Drinks
- These will be your “meals” for the first week
- Aim for at least 30-40 grams of protein per day
- You will not be able to tolerate much at a time but be sure to get some protein every 1-2 hours
- Examples include:
- Bariatric Advantage
- Pure Protein
- Numerous others that can be found at any health food or supplement store
- For occasional additional flavor:
- Low-carb Carnation Instant Breakfast
- Slim-Fast may be used to add additional flavor. However, use these sparingly because they contain more carbohydrates than specific protein powders.
- You may mix protein powders with skim milk, 1% milk or unsweetened lactose-free milks such as soy or almond milk. The shake or powder should contain about 20 or more grams of protein per serving, no more than 10-15 grams of carbs per serving), and less than 2 grams saturated fats per serving
- Stop drinking as soon as you feel full, don’t overdo it, you’re much more likely to vomit the first week. If the feeling of fullness goes away within 5-10 mins, resume drinking but if it lasts > 15 mins, it’s better to wait another 1-2 hrs.
- Belching does not help in this situation and may cause you to actually swallow more air.
- At your 1-week post-procedure visit you will likely discuss advancing your diet depending on how you are doing. Most are able to progress to the Solid Food Stage by 3 weeks.
Follow Up: varies among providers
- Most facilities will call you at least once, sometime every day for the first 3-4 days
- 1 week follow up with the physician or one of his staff providers
- 1 month follow up with dietician of staff member
- Monthly follow ups with dietician, one on one or in a group
- 6th month pre-removal visit with physician
- Multivitamin – Since you will be eating a lot less, you will likely need to supplement with a multivitamin for a while. You can start when you get home after your procedure in most cases.
- Anti-Nausea – medications for nausea are usually provided. Take them as directed and only if the nausea is keep you from drinking as much as you should be.
- Antacids – Heartburn is not uncommon and most will be started on antacids until you are fully adjusted to the balloon’s presence in your system or the balloon is removed after 6 months.
- Usual Medications – Resume prior medications as directed by your primary health care provider. Be aware that medications like your blood pressure or diabetes meds may need to be adjusted as the pounds come flying off, so plan to keep a close follow up with your primary care provider (PCP) or other specialists who manage those medications.
- Walk at least 6 times per day for the first week, challenge yourself but be smart about it don’t overdo it, you don’t want to induce vomiting
- Aim for a total of 30 minutes a day for the first 1-2 weeks
- Aim for 60 minutes a day thereafter, exercise will result in more weight loss, better health, self-confidence and energy
- No heavy lifting or straining for the first 2-3 days post-procedure.
General Eating and Lifestyle Advice
See our Nutrition Section for detailed meal plans and recipes
- Take small bites and chew carefully
- Plan on multiple small meals, at least 3-4 with 2-3 snacks throughout the day
- Use smaller plates and/or put half your meal away for later
- Stop eating if you feel heartburn (a.k.a. acid reflux)
- Do not smoke before eating (or at all)
- Avoid/minimize alcohol, it’s just an easy way to add on calories
- Drink about 30 minutes before not during
- Sip after eating to help wash down the balloon. This helps avoid unpleasant burps caused by food sticking to the balloon
- Eat earlier in the evening, at least 2 hours before lying down