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Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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New Patient Packet

Contact Us

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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Real world results

Orbera Gastric Balloon 7
Angela, lost 48 lbs*.
Angela wanted to be able to wear the stylish clothes she sells in her boutique instead of the loose, baggy ones she usually wore. ORBERA™ helped her lose 48 lbs*., taught her about lifestyle choices, and made her want to jump out of bed in the morning. She now highly recommends ORBERA™ as a fantastic start to the weight loss journey.

Orbera Gastric Balloon 8
James, lost 37 lbs*.

James was struggling to go for a walk, move around, and even get into his car. When it came to losing weight, he chose ORBERA™ because it was a non-surgical procedure. James is currently training for the World Surf Life Saving Titles, having successfully lost 37lbs*.

Do you remember that pair of pants, slacks, or shorts that you could just pull on? No fighting, pulling or justification: oh, they'll stretch out throughout the day... or, I can wear that long blouse that covers my bottom or worse - who cares, I'm dressed, aren't I? Before the weight - you just pulled them out of your closet, slipped them on and were ready for the world. I have finally begun to find that place again - 2 sizes down so far and halfway through this journey (I should clear out my closet, but stayed eternally optimistic that I would lose the weight eventually) and it is an amazing feeling every single time something else FITS! I even had to stop buying the extra large tops this month - they are too BIG! :)

I have been exercising and dieting consistently for at least 6 years. I needed help - not surgery, not some way around learning a lifestyle change - just a little boost and that's EXACTLY what Orbera gave me. I am still exercising and learning a lifestyle change. Training my mind and body how to enjoy eating without gorging or punishing myself  or just being resigned to the 'fat' lifestyle. Six months is exactly what I needed - I can be pretty slow to learn. Staying with this is not a 'quick fix or fad diet' - it is life changing and I'm thrilled I met Dr. Suggs and his staff. I feel like I have the chance, finally, to start again at 49! It is the best thing I've done for myself in years. 

Orbera = healthy, happy me. :)  Orbera 03/02/2016 - down from 213 to 184 as of 06/27/2016*

*Results may vary.


Weight loss with ORBERA™

Orbera Gastric Balloon 2The Orbera intragastric balloon another non-surgical weight loss procedure. Orbera combines a clinically tested and proven medical device with your own customized plan and support team to effectively manage weight loss. The comprehensive, two-part program starts with a soft balloon placed in your stomach for six months to encourage portion control. The balloon is then removed and your support team will continue to guide you toward making healthy lifestyle choices. Patients lose 3.1 times more weight than with traditional diets alone*.

Orbera has been performed in over 220,000 patients in Europe over the last 20 years, and was approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. summer 2015.

Orbera delays emptying of food out of your stomach, takes up space normally filled with food, reduces your hunger with less food, and stretches receptors in your stomach tricking your body into eating less.  That’s how patients have been able to lose over 25% of their excess weight with Orbera*.


Adults age 18-70 with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40.  No comorbidities necessary.  No previous stomach surgery.  Belly, or abdominal surgery, is okay, as long as the surgery was not on the stomach (like previous bariatric surgery, a laparoscopic acid reflux surgery, a lap-band, or ulcer surgery).

How It Works

Orbera Gastric Balloon 3The Orbera intragastric balloon is inserted and removed endoscopically at an outpatient surgery center, but also can be done in the hospital.  Most people take 2-3 days off from work after the procedure.

The FDA requires that the Orbera be removed by 6 months after insertion.  We remove Orbera endoscopically by month 6 after insertion.  If additional weight loss is desired, another Orbera can be inserted again in the future.

As with any procedure, there can be risks.  For the Orbera intragastric balloon, these are minimal.  These include the balloon bursting and causing an obstruction, aspiration during endoscopic insertion or removal, acid reflux, abdominal pain, ulcer, and intolerance to Orbera.  We take critical steps to minimize these risks.

More common is nausea and abdominal discomfort the week after insertion of the Orbera intragastric balloon.  Your stomach wants to reject the balloon initially, then accomodates it.  The first week can be pretty rough for some folks, although many patients have only minimal symptoms.  We give you several prescription medications to minimize this.  Hang in there.  You can do it.

It’s critical to stay on a clear liquid diet for the day before insertion and removal of Orbera, and to have nothing by mouth, including liquids, for 12 hours before insertion and removal.  If any food is seen in the stomach at the time of the procedure, the insertion or removal of Orbera will be aborted and rescheduled.

The Intragastric Balloon Diet:

Orbera Gastric Balloon 4Part of how the Orbera system works is for you to be on a diet for the entire 6 months you have the balloon or balloons in place, then continue that diet for another 6 months.

  • Weeks 1 and 2:  liquid diet, protein shakes emphasized.
  • Weeks 3 to month 6:  your personalized diet plan.
  • 2 Weeks prior to removal:  liquid protein diet.
  • Months 7 to 12:  continue on your personalized diet plan.
  • Beyond 12 months:  continue your new lifestyle.

Diet Choices:

  • Paleo Diet
  • South Beach Diet
  • Atkins Diet
  • Weight Watchers
  • Dr. Suggs’ Farm Fresh Diet

If you have had another diet in the past that has worked for you, or if you would like to try a diet that is not on the above list, go for it!  Your Life-style Coach will help you decide which diet works best for you.  And if it’s not working, you can make a change.

Some patients may elect to do their 12 months of dieting with an established local physician-supervised diet program.  This should be a legitimate weight loss clinic approved by Dr. Suggs, not simply going to a primary care doctor who may have never seriously run a weight loss program,  or doing it all on your own.  If utilizing another weight-loss clinic, Dr. Suggs will provide technical services for placing and removing your intragastric balloon and make sure it continues to function properly, but you will not be seeing the Life-style Coach.

Life-Style Coach

One of the keys to success is having a person who is well versed in managing the diet of Orbera patients to coach and encourage them, as well as hold them accountable.  At Alabama Bariatrics, that person is EmmaLaura.   EmmaLaura has a degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science from Auburn University, and runs the Intragastric balloon program at Alabama Bariatrics.


Orbera Gastric Balloon 6Exercise is also critical to your success.  We recommend that you join a gym or fitness center.  EmmaLaura, who is trained in exercise physiology and also was a trainer with the U.S. Olympic handball team, can help you design your personalized exercise program.  

Schedule of Office Visits

After an initial consultation with your Coach EmmaLaura, you will be scheduled for a comprehensive history and physical exam with Dr. Suggs.  He will continue the discussion with you, then decide with you if you are a good candidate for Orbera.  You’ll then be scheduled for the insertion procedure, given dietary and pre-procedure instructions, and be given several prescriptions to minimized post-procedure discomfort and nausea.

You’ll see Dr. Suggs in the office for a check-up about a week after insertion, then the intragastric balloon Coach 2 weeks after insertion.  At that time, you and your coach will make a final decision as to what diet you’ll be on for the next 11 ½ months.  You’ll see Dr. Suggs as needed. However, you’ll continue to see the Lifestyle Coach monthly.  There are also frequent phone calls from your coach, especially in the first month.

2 weeks prior to removal of your Orbera intragastric balloon, you’ll see Dr. Suggs.  You’ll then continue to see Emma a week after removal and monthly until the 12 month program is complete.


Expect to lose weight the most rapidly during the initial 2 week induction phase on your liquid protein diet*.  It would not be uncommon to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks!  You’ll lose weight more slowly during the next 5 months, and may even experience some plateaus.  We’ll rev up your weight loss again 2 weeks prior to removal of your intragastric balloon with a liquid protein diet.  You’ll then continue your selected diet for the next 6 months to round out our 12 month program.

Expect to lose about 3.1 times more weight with the Orbera intragastric balloon than with dieting alone*.  For most people, that’s around 30 to 40 pounds*.

The key for long term success is to maintain the healthy eating habits you learn during the 12 month weight loss program for the rest of your life.  It’s all about the lifestyle change.

Orbera Intragastric Balloon

Pre-Orbera: 285.4lbs

Orbera Intragastric Balloon1

5 Months Post: 222.0lbs (-63.4lbs)

Orbera Intragastric Balloon2