Intra-gastric Balloon (Orbera)
The intra-gastric balloon is a non-surgical weight-loss procedure, which involves the insertion of a specialised balloon inside the stomach. The balloon is filled with sterile fluid, and is in place for six months before being removed. The insertion and removal are performed through a non-invasive day procedure under a general anaesthetic or sedation, and takes around 20 to 45 minutes.
How does it cause weight loss?
The balloon is a restrictive weight loss procedure. The balloon occupies space within the stomach, and limits the amount of food your stomach can carry. It is suitable for patients with a BMI of 30 and over, who either don’t qualify for weight loss surgery, or want a reversible, non-surgical option. It may also be suitable for patients in the super obese category (BMI > 50) who would benefit from non-surgical weight loss before undergoing a necessary surgical procedure.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
The balloon typically results in 10 to 15kg weight loss over the six month placement.
How long do I need to stay in hospital?
You are admitted and discharged on the same day.
Is the procedure safe?
The balloon has a low rate of complication, and is a fully reversible procedure, however every procedure has risks. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal discomfort immediately after placement
You will be given prescriptions for medications to reduce these symptoms.
How much does the procedure cost?
Information on procedure costs can be found on the Our Costs page.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you will need a referral to see Dr Puhalla. A referral from your GP is valid for 12 months, while a referral from a specialist is valid for 3 months.
The initial consultation costs $250, with a Medicare rebate of $76. The pre-operative appointment costs $90, with a Medicare rebate of $38. You will need a valid referral to claim the Medicare rebates.
No, weight loss surgery is not currently available in the public health system.
Yes, Dr Puhalla accepts uninsured patients. You can apply to the ATO for early release of your super, for which we can assist you. Medicare rebates are available for some fees, however you are liable for all costs.s
Unfortunately, Medicare and health fund rebates do not cover the full cost of providing you with medical care. This is because the rate at which successive governments have indexed the Medicare Schedule fees has been substantially lower than increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and average weekly earnings. The reality is that Medicare rebates do not cover the cost of providing you with a safe and high quality service. The fees charged by this practice have to cover all of our practice costs.
Please bring a copy of your referral, along with your personal details, including Medicare card, private health insurance, and a list of medications. You will need to fill out personal details and medical history forms on arrival.
Yes, it is essential that you see a dietitian to support you on your weight loss surgery journey. This is to ensure that you have the best possible outcome relating to your weight loss and overall health.
Dr Puhalla will discuss your options with you to help you decide the best procedure for you. Your individual preferences, lifestyle and health are considered when determining your type of surgery.
Typically, the hospital stay is one to two nights. If you are undergoing revisional surgery or have a complex medical history, you may need to stay longer.
Depending on the procedure, you will need one to two weeks off work. We can provide you with a medical certificate if required.
We recommend you start driving a week after surgery, initially limiting yourself to shorter drives before returning to normal driving.
Current wait times are around three to four weeks for appointments and surgery bookings. We also have a cancellation list, as patients often have to move their appointments, which means you may be able to be seen sooner. Please advise our team at the time of booking if you would like to put on the cancellation list.
The entire process typically takes around 8 to 12 weeks. Depending on the investigations needed, and whether or not you have private health insurance, this may be able to be shortened to around 4 weeks. We will do our best to meet your schedule, however we recommend you allow at least 8 weeks for the entire process.