The intragastric balloon helps you lose weight by physically occupying space in your stomach, encouraging portion control. The procedure transforms your relationship with food and amplifies long-term weight loss results with dietary counseling.

To perform the procedure, you’ll be under sedation, so arrange for someone to collect you and stay with you for 24 hours afterward. This ensures that you don’t accidentally harm yourself or others.

How It Works

A gastric balloon, a non-surgical weight loss option, operates on the principle of reducing stomach capacity and promoting a feeling of fullness. The procedure involves inserting a deflated silicone balloon into the stomach through the mouth, which is then filled with a sterile saline solution. As the balloon expands, it takes up space in the stomach, restricting the amount of food it can hold. This makes patients feel full more quickly and consume smaller portions during meals. 

The adjustable gastric balloon is a temporary weight loss device that helps you lose and maintain a healthier body weight. The procedure uses minimally invasive techniques without general anesthesia. For a maximum of six months, the gastric balloon will remain in your stomach, assisting you in practicing portion control and forming healthier eating habits. Combined with medically-backed support, the procedure completely transforms your relationship with food.

To prepare for a balloon adjustment, you must follow a clear liquid diet for three days before the appointment. Your doctor will perform the endoscopic procedure under sedation. You will stay in the clinic for a few hours afterward to ensure you tolerate the balloon. When the procedure is complete, your doctor drains and removes the balloon from your stomach endoscopically.

How It’s Placed

The gastric balloon is a non-surgical, temporary weight loss device that takes up space in your stomach to help you control portion sizes and develop healthy eating habits. The intragastric balloon promotes weight loss by occupying space in the stomach, interfering with stomach emptying, and stimulating stretch receptors to feel complete.

The adjustable balloon procedure is performed under sedation and lasts about a half-hour. First, your doctor will move a thin tube called a catheter with the deflated balloon attached to it down your throat and into your stomach. Next, they’ll use the endoscope to carefully examine your esophagus and stomach for any conditions that could make a gastric balloon unsafe (such as a large hiatal hernia or stomach ulcer). When everything appears satisfactory, they will add saline to the balloon until it is about the size of a grapefruit.

Once the balloon is in place, you’ll begin a liquid diet. Depending on your needs, this will advance to a soft and regular diet. Most patients experience discomfort for only a few days as the stomach adjusts to the balloon. However, some people may experience nausea, reflux, or vomiting. Medication is an easy way to manage these transient symptoms.

How It’s Removed

Unlike other invasive surgical options, gastric balloons are non-permanent and can be removed in a non-invasive, endoscopic procedure. Your doctor advances a thin tube called a catheter down your throat and into your stomach while you’re sedated to remove the balloon through your mouth or esophagus. You’ll be discharged within a few hours of your procedure.

The balloon also interferes with stomach emptying, promoting portion control and helping you develop healthy new eating habits.

You’ll follow a liquid diet for the first two weeks after your balloon is placed and then transition to a regular diet with a gradual transition to solid foods. Your weight loss team will guide you through the entire process and help you with your food choices.

Most balloons are designed to remain in the stomach for up to six months, but you can choose to have your balloon removed earlier if you’re experiencing stalled progress or complications like a ruptured or displaced balloon. When the time comes for removal, your surgeon will perform an endoscopic procedure to puncture the balloon, suction its filling, and withdraw it from the stomach. The removal procedure can be painful, but it is not dangerous and will be followed by a comprehensive behavior modification program to promote long-term success.

Side Effects

An adjustable gastric balloon is a non-surgical and non-permanent weight loss tool. It is restricted to individuals who fulfill specific requirements, such as having a BMI that falls into the overweight or obese range and having medical issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, or fatty liver disease that can be improved with weight loss.

After the procedure, you will be on a liquid-only diet for three days, gradually returning to a solid diet. You will have to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

You may experience pain, discomfort, or nausea the first few days after your procedure, which is uncommon and does not last long.

There is a small risk that your balloon could deflate or migrate into the intestines, although this is rare and typically caused by a stomach injury. Different intragastric balloons have tracking devices to alert you and your medical team should this occur.

Some people will find their balloons intolerant due to stomach sensitivity, which usually results in early balloon removal and a high recidivism rate (weight regain).