- You will feel full sooner while eating, so you will eat less and lose weight
- You will lose about 30% of their excess weight in 6 months (when the balloon(s) are removed)
- A patient who is 100 pounds overweight will lose 30 pounds in six months
- Your health will improve, including improvement for diabetes, joint/bone disease, and heart-related issues
How the Balloon Works
- A deflated balloon is inserted through your mouth and down the esophagus
- The balloon is expanded in your stomach
- The expanded balloon causes you to feel full sooner while eating, so you eat less and lose weight
Why the Gastric Balloon Works
Between 1 and 3 inflated balloons in the stomach leave less room for food and cause patients to feel full sooner and eat less.
How the Gastric Balloon Procedure Is Performed
The gastric balloon procedure is performed differently depending on which balloon type you choose:
Once you are set up in the treatment room, following are the steps:
- Your throat will be numbed with a special spray. The numbing sensation may feel strange, but it will help your throat tolerate the instruments used in the procedure. If you wish, you can also ask for an injection to make you feel sleepy, but these options will be discussed with you beforehand.
- After you are comfortable, the nurse will insert a plastic mouth guard between your teeth to keep your mouth open for the scope.
- The scope will be passed through your mouth and into your stomach. This will not be painful, and you will be able to breath without worry. The doctor may also need to pass some air down the scope to have a clear view. This too can be a strange feeling, and it may make you want to belch.
- The scope will be removed.
- The deflated balloon will be passed into your stomach and inflated with either air or saline solution.
- The scope will be passed into your stomach one final time to double check that the balloon is in the right position and properly inflated.
- You will lose up to one-third of your excess weight in 6 months
- For example, if you are 5’4″ and weigh 220 lbs, you will lose about 25 lbs. in 6 months
- If you are 5’9″ and weigh 300 lbs, you will lose about 40 lbs. in 6 months
The average gastric balloon patient loses a moderate amount of weight very quickly after the procedure:
- Month 3: Approximately 15% of excess weight
- Month 6: Approximately 30% of excess weight
- Actual weight loss could be higher or lower.
The most popular types of balloon must be removed after 6 months, so long-term weight loss depends entirely on the patient’s diet and lifestyle choices. In other words, gastric balloon should not be viewed as a “long-term fix.”
In fact, some patients use the balloon to lose weight before having a more involved procedure like gastric sleeve. More involved procedures have a lower complication rate when patients weigh less before surgery, so you may want to discuss this option with your surgeon.
- A gastric balloon may improve your diabetes, cardiac health & joint/bone issues
- Gastric balloon patients are more likely to see health improvements than people of similar weight who do not have the procedure.
- A body mass index (BMI) of 30 – 40 is required
For some types of balloons, such as the ReShape Balloon, you must have a health risk associated with obesity like diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea. For other balloon types, like the Orbera balloon, no comorbidities are required.
For a list of frequently asked questions about qualifying, see our “Do I Qualify For Weight Loss Surgery?” page.
The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes
Preparing for the Procedure
Take the proper steps to improve your outcome
Your doctor and their office will work closely with you to prepare for your gastric balloon procedure, including:
Conduct a pre-procedure health assessment, where you will be asked questions about your medical history and medications.
Review your surgical history, as some complications can arise if you’ve had prior procedures on your stomach.
Order certain tests like an ECG, x-ray, and blood tests.
- You will leave the hospital on the same day (outpatient)
- 3 days until you are “fully recovered”
After the procedure, gastric balloon patients usually:
- Leave the hospital and return home the same day.
- Have someone who is willing and able to drive them home and take care of them for at least 24 hours. The patient’s throat will probably be sore following the procedure since the balloon was inserted through the mouth.
- Have fully recovered and are back to work within 3 days.
Instruct you to fast (no food) for at least 24 hours before surgery, with nothing to eat or drink 12 hours before surgery.