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Orbera or Reshape balloon.. why did you pick one over the other?



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I must admit that my primary reason for choosing Orbera was proximity. The closest place offering ReShape was a couple/few hours away. That was not just an issue for the procedure, but also follow up appointments (none of which they would do over the phone - not even with the nutritionist). I also would have had to stay in a hotel for a few days after the procedure, and would not have had a doctor nearby longterm in case of an issue. Furthermore, I met with two Orbera doctors and really liked the second one, so it made the decision easy. (I also liked the idea that the doctor I selected did the procedure in a hospital, while most others do it at an outpatient facility ... it's very unlikely that there will be issues with the procedure, but I figured it would be better to be in a hospital, just in case.)

Having said that, I also liked that Orbera had been around longer and seemed to have better results with fewer complications. Just thinking about size/capacity, I thought ReShape might work better, but one of the doctors whom I met with (different practice than I selected) said Orbera was better since it was bigger in the middle and had more contact with the stomach wall, causing a greater sensation of fullness (not sure if that's true or not, but it made sense to me).

What I liked better about ReShape was that due to the double balloon and blue dye, I felt like it was safer (i.e. less likely to fully deflate and cause a blockage). However, my surgeon agreed to use blue dye with my Orbera (something that's common in other parts of the world ... can't imagine why it's not here). I've been told that chances of deflation/blockage are very very slim, but I feel better knowing that I've got this extra safely mechanism, just in case.

Lastly, I only know two people (via these forums) who had ReShape - one over six months ago and one fairly recently. The former already had it removed and he lost 77 pounds (wow!). The other is having a tough time ... she was sicker than I was at first, has had other nagging side effects and is struggling to lose (so frustrating ... I'm hoping she turns a corner soon). Just based on those two, it's hard to tell if it's a good choice (and I've certainly heard both good and bad about Orbera ... at the end of the day I think it's more of an individual reaction thing than due to which balloon). But since I'm "closer" to the person who is having a negative experience, I'd be less likely to endorse ReShape (which is probably not a fair assessment at all).

Whichever you choose, just make sure that you take time to do your research in advance, that you prepare for the procedure and that you take enough time off to recuperate. Keep in mind - it still takes a lot of work to lose weight with a balloon. The balloon is just a tool to help the process. But so far I've found it to be effective, and I'm still cautiously optimistic that it will help me to get to my goal. Fingers crossed.

Good luck!

Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App

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I have a friend that is thinking of doing this..... My question: Why do this and not one of the other WLS? From what i read the first few week are hellish... lots of nausea and throwing up... and you have to get it taken out in 6 months no matter what. And the cost, from what i read, is like 5000-7000 out of pocket... is this true?

She needs to lose a good 75-80lbs. to be at a health weight... I wrote to the person that lost the 77lbs and asked him how things was going since they removed the balloon...? He never replied.... That's another question, are people regain what they lost after it's removed?

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I have a friend that is thinking of doing this..... My question: Why do this and not one of the other WLS? From what i read the first few week are hellish... lots of nausea and throwing up... and you have to get it taken out in 6 months no matter what. And the cost, from what i read, is like 5000-7000 out of pocket... is this true?

She needs to lose a good 75-80lbs. to be at a health weight... I wrote to the person that lost the 77lbs and asked him how things was going since they removed the balloon...? He never replied.... That's another question, are people regain what they lost after it's removed?

Hi - all good questions. :-) While some people struggle with the balloon, most do not for the "first few weeks" ... it's more like the first few days. I did not feel great for the first few days, but I was not horribly miserable, either (and after a week - maybe less - I was fine). I ended up throwing up three times in first two days, but that's it. If you are properly prepared (with meds, nutrition, etc.), it's not that bad ... certainly not as bad as I expected. Having said that, different people react differently. I know three people who had it within a week of me - two did better than I did (not throwing up in those first few days at all, although one did later) and one did worse (she was really miserable). Just like with surgery, you don't know how your body will respond.

In terms of why the balloon rather than surgery, the balloon is much less invasive, has fewer risks and, despite those first few yucky days, has a faster recovery time. I was always too chicken to permanently alter my anatomy, so this was a good option for me, despite not being covered by insurance (it is ~ $5000-$8500 for the insertion, removal and a year of doctor/dietitian support ... some places even offer exercise physiologist and therapy support). Having said that, I would not be surprised if insurance starts to cover it soon (it's so new that I just don't think the insurance companies have had a chance to process it yet).

I talked to the gentleman who lost 77 pounds after he had his balloon removed and he was doing well. He was VERY motivated to lose more, so I would be surprised if he's gained anything back (he only had it removed a few weeks ago). Please note that 77 pounds is not typical. Most people report 25-50 pounds in the six months. Please also note that you cannot get the balloon in the US if your BMI is over 40 ... so most people who get it have less to lose than people who have surgery.

Do people gain the weight back ... some do and some don't, and some just gain some of it back. It all depends on whether or not they treat the six months as an opportunity to change their habits and commit to a lifestyle change. It also depends on whether or not they take advantage of the additional six months of support that are included in the package. In other words, the balloon is just a tool than can be used to kick-start weight loss ... it's not a magic bullet. (However, I would say the same thing about surgery - unfortunately most of the people I know who have had surgery have not lost as much as they had hoped [some not at all!] and/or gained some weight back after an initial loss because they had not made necessary lifestyle changes.) Having said all of that, in balloon studies, people who had had balloons did a better job of maintaining than people who did not.

In summary, the decision to get a balloon or to have surgery is a big one - no one should take it lightly. I highly recommend doing a lot of research, reading the studies and meeting with more than one doctor. But at the end of the day, whatever someone decides, it is just a tool - it's not the answer. As my doctor said, his job was the easy part - the hard work was mine to do. No matter how you approach weight loss (even if you just do a diet) it requires planning, commitment and diligence ... forever. And if you do it with the balloon, that six months should be used to not only drop the pounds, but also to get counseling and support to work through the issues that caused the weight gain in the first place.

I hope that helps. Please feel free to reach out with any other questions. Regardless, best of luck to you and your friend!

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Hi. I am almost 4 months in. Lost 21 pounds, less than I was hoping/expecting and losing weight has slowed to a crawl in recent weeks. I chose orbera because I did not qualify (BMI too low) for anything more invasive and also because I really was not too keen on the idea of more permanent procedures since I still have the belief that I have some control over my poor eating habits. I did not do a lot of research on the sleeve or by pass because I was just too concerned about the long term consequences of a permanent change to my plumbing...I guess I envisioned doubled over in stomach pain in the nursing home when I was 85 wondering why the hell I did that to myself! haha.

It has NOT been easy. It is NOT a magic pill. There has not been one day that I have felt normal. Acid reflux is a real, every day/night side effect. Stomach aches if I eat the wrong food, too much food, not enough Water, sleep in the wrong position. The first 4 weeks were horrible. The next 4 weeks were bad, but livable. Month 3 was ok, but weight loss slowed a lot. Month 4, I have many more good days, and good nights, but I am very conscientious of everything I put in my mouth and the consequence it will have on my evening (night time is rough...with such a small pocket for food and drink, stuff bubbles up into your esophagus/throat when laying down.)

I have not found many people who have written in these forums post 2 months so I do not know if my experience is normal or not. I will say, I would do this again. I feel healthier right now, given the weight loss and it has broken my love affair with food. I eat now because I am hungry and not because I have to have a sweet or comfort food. But I will repeat...this is NOT the cure for obesity. I need to work out, I need to count calories and I need to watch every bite I eat. Did I need to install a heavy balloon in my stomach to achieve that? Probably not, but I was yo-yo'ing with my diet and could not get my butt off the chair to exercise. Now every minute of the day I am aware of this thing inside of me so I make more conscientious choices. I have even contemplated having another installed to replace the old one at 6 months....we'll see! Good luck in making your decision. I have heard good things about the sleeve....

Edited by jansluv

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I selected the ReShape balloon because of the safety factor and that it is supposedly more comfortable in the long run.

I had mine installed 04/28/2016. I am doing well but still in search of some energy.

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