What is Gastric Balloon Procedure?
The Gastric Balloon is a non-surgical weight loss procedure where a balloon is inflated in the stomach to temporarily decrease the stomach capacity/volume and induce weight loss. The “stomach balloon or weight loss balloon” does have advantages as a less-invasive procedure, but it also has disadvantages in terms of effectiveness, weight loss, and overall success.
As good as a ‘non-surgical’ approach sounds, there are major setbacks faced while undergoing the gastric balloon procedure.
How Gastric Balloon is Performed [Balloon Insertion]
To sum up the procedure, a deflated, silicone gastric balloon is inserted endoscopically (down the esophagus) guided by a thin tube along with a tiny, flexible camera (called an endoscope). Once the balloon is secured in place, the balloon is inflated with a sterile liquid saline solution (for Orbera, Spatz3, and ReShape Duo) or gas-filled (for Obalon).
The entire procedure duration lasts about 30 minutes and does not require overnight hospitalization. While the length of time the balloon can stay in is 3, 6, or 12 months depending on the type of balloon.
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Type of Balloon
- ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss System – made by Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. (FDA-Approved)
- Orbera stays in the stomach for up to 6 months
- Spatz3 Adjustable Balloon System (COFEPRIS-Approved)
- Spatz3 stays in the stomach for up to 12 months
- ReShape Duo Balloon System (FDA-Approved)
- ReShape Duo stays in the stomach for up to 6 months
- Obalon® Intragastric Balloon System (just received FDA Approval)
- Obalon stays in the stomach for up to 6 months
2 Main Reasons People Get the Gastric Balloon
- Lower BMI patients who want to lose 20-30 pounds.
- Extremely high-BMI patients who need to lose weight to get to a safer weight to undergo more effective procedures like gastric sleeve surgery or gastric bypass surgery.
The gastric balloon basically gives just enough time to change your lifestyle and eating habits so that once it gets removed, patients must try their absolute best to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Is Gastric Balloon for you?
Here are the general candidacy requirements to see if you qualify for gastric balloon. There may be more requirements dependent on your medical history and bariatric provider.
- Your body mass index (BMI) is between 30 and 40. (BMI = 27+ in Mexico)
- You’re willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes.
- You have not had any previous stomach or gastric surgery.
Alternatively, many balloon patients return to their bariatric provider to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in hopes of getting the weight loss results they were originally hoping for.
Gastric Balloon Health Benefits
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
Gastric Balloon Costs
A lot of people flock the gastric balloon because it’s less expensive compared to other bariatric procedures – hoping to find long-term success losing weight.
- United States – $7,000 – $12,700
- Canada – $10,700
- Costa Rica – $4,900
- Thailand – $4,700
- India – $4,450
- Australia – $4,500 – $8,000
- Mexico – Starting at $3,695
Average Gastric Balloon Weight Loss Results
- 3 Months: 3% to 7% of body weight
- 6 Months: 7% to 15% of body weight is typical during the six months
- 12 Months (assuming it’s Spatz): 10% to 17%
Gastric Balloon Complications & Risks
Complications and problems are through the roof for balloon patients. Not as life-threatening as more intense surgeries – but the risks and complications may still be common. Discomfort, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and even gastric perforation are possible complications of the gastric balloon. Adapting to the balloon is difficult as well.
Gastric Balloon Pros [Advantages]
- Less invasive
- As a non-surgical approach to weight loss, there are less serious complications compared to more invasive bariatric surgeries.
- 20-40 pounds of weight loss
- Gastric balloon doesn’t work for everyone. On average, our patients see about 20 to 30 pounds weight loss during the time the balloon is in place
- It’s temporary (reversible)
- If you decide you want to take it out (and opt for a more effective procedure, or just want it out) you are able to
- No Cutting, Stapling, Stomach Removal, or Major Surgery
- Limited Risks and Side Effects
Gastric Balloon Cons [Disadvantages]
- Weight gain after removed
- Once the balloon is removed, there is nothing holding patients back from regaining weight.
- The gastric balloon is a short-term tool
- Once deflated, there are no guarantees as no aspect of it lasts.
- May cause discomfort
- Diet and exercise regimen required to be truly effective
- Risk of rupture, especially if the balloon stays longer in the stomach.
- Bowel obstruction due to the migration of an IG
When the Gastric Balloon Doesn’t Work
There is always a chance for any weight loss procedure to face weight gain or failure. The problem with gastric balloon is after it is removed, there is nothing besides willpower and determination in the way of regaining weight and going back to bad habits.
This is why it is so critical to be 110% committed to making serious lifestyle changes. These include dietary changes, exercise, eating habits, post-op diet, and changing your overall life.