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Non-surgical Options

Non-surgical options

The Sanford Weight Loss Surgery Program is excited to offer the latest non-surgical weight loss option: the ORBERA® intragastric balloon. This is the perfect option if you have tried to lose weight with diet and exercise but with no success.

ORBERA® intragastric balloon

ORBERA® is a two-part weight loss system that begins by placing a soft gastric balloon in your stomach to encourage portion control for six months. This minimally invasive non-surgical procedure is an option for a variety of people with a BMI between 30 to 40 with no weight-related health problems.

The second part of the ORBERA® system involves helping you develop sustainable, long-term healthy habits. You will begin meeting with our team for the six months while the balloon is in place and then for another six months after it is removed.

How ORBERA® works

Under mild sedation, the intragastric balloon is placed into the stomach through the mouth, using a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. Once in place, it is filled with a safe saline solution until it’s about the size of a grapefruit. The balloon’s volume and shape are meant to take up space in the stomach, encouraging portion control and helping you lose weight. The balloon is only temporary and needs to be removed after six months. This is done in the same fashion as when it was inserted, with a quick non-surgical procedure.

In addition to the balloon placement, you also must be willing to follow the program for 12 months to help you make and maintain major changes in your eating and exercise habits. You will begin meeting with your coach once the balloon is in place and then for six months after it is removed. Coaching is a key part of the program and is integral to your success. If your diet and exercise is not followed, your results will be insignificant and you may not lose any weight at all.

Intragastric Balloon Placement

Intragastric Balloon Removal

Weight loss

The average person loses three times more weight with ORBERA® than with diet and exercise alone. While dieting can leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied, the ORBERA® balloon takes up room in your stomach, encouraging portion control. As you begin to lose weight, physical activity can become more enjoyable, which in turn will add to your weight loss. With the balloon in place, you’ll lose most of that stubborn weight you’ve struggled with in the first few months.

During the clinical study, the group of people who used the ORBERA® intragastric balloon lost more weight than those who did not. The study included 255 patients who were followed for one year. During that time, 125 patients received the device while 130 patients participated in a behavior modification program instead. Patients who received the ORBERA® lost an average of 21.8 pounds after the device had been implanted for six months. Three months after the device was removed, patients maintained an average loss of 19.4 pounds. Those who participated in behavior modification lost an average of 7 pounds.

Qualifying for ORBERA®

To qualify for ORBERA®, you must be an adult with a BMI between 30 and 40, and willing to participate in a medically supervised program. It cannot be used in those who:

  • Have had a prior gastrointestinal or bariatric surgery
  • Have any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Have potential upper gastrointestinal bleeding conditions
  • Have a large hiatal hernia
  • Have a structural abnormality in the esophagus or pharynx
  • Have serious esophageal motility disorders
  • Have a gastric mass
  • Have a severe clotting or bleeding disorder (coagulopathy)
  • Have a liver failure (hepatic insufficiency) or cirrhosis
  • Are known to have or suspected to have an allergic reaction to materials contained in the ORBERA® system
  • Have any other medical condition that would not permit elective endoscopy
  • Have a serious prior or present psychiatric illness
  • Have alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Those unable to unwilling to take prescribed proton pump inhibitor medication for the duration of the device implant
  • Are unable or unwilling to participate in a medically supervised diet and behavior modification program with routine medical follow-up
  • Are receiving aspirin, anti-inflammatory agents, blood thinners (anticoagulants) or other gastric irritants
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Your non-surgical weight loss team

Your journey will include several key passages: an initial consultation, your procedure and recovery, 12 months of follow-up and coaching, and finally a new, healthy way of life. At every step of the way, you'll meet specifically trained professionals who will work with you. We all share a common goal: your lifelong success.

From initial consultation to the last month of your 12-month coaching program, many people will be involved in your care. Click on the region nearest you to view your care team.

Bemidji, ND
Fargo, ND
Sioux Falls, SD

Sanford's Weight Loss Surgery Program is part of Sanford Health – the region's premier health system. So whatever health needs might arise, our team of experts can help.

You can also learn more about the intragastric balloon at