The Gastric Balloon Procedure: Is It Right For Me?

By: GI Alliance


Very few American adults are pleased with their weight. It’s what leads us to spend billions every year on dieting and weight loss. We all want to look and feel our best and we know that a healthy weight can protect us from a wide range of troublesome health conditions. Yet, for many, that ideal weight seems to remain perpetually out of reach.

If you’re finding weight loss difficult, you certainly aren’t alone. For reasons ranging from stress to medical complications, millions of Americans find themselves in the same situation. Fortunately, medical options such as the gastric balloon are available to help jumpstart your weight loss and achieve the results you’ve been working for. Best of all, the procedure is quick, effective and does not involve the need for surgery. Here are the details you need to determine if the gastric balloon is right for you:

How does the Gastric Balloon Work?

First, an endoscopy is done to inspect the inside of your stomach. This is done under sedation, so you will not be awake! The deflated balloon will be inserted into your stomach through the mouth, and then filled with a sterile saline. The procedure is generally uncomplicated and lasts 20-30 minutes. You will regain awareness quickly and be monitored until your doctor discharges you (usually an hour or so). You will need someone to drive you home. You will be given detailed instructions on your aftercare.

Immediately before and after the procedure you will follow a special diet to allow the body to recover and adjust to the newly placed balloon. The balloon remains in the stomach for six months. During that time period, patients will eat less and lose weight as the balloon has filled a portion of the stomach. Patients will also learn to adhere to a healthier diet and exercise programs increasing the odds of success even after the balloon is removed.

Who is a Candidate for the Gastric Balloon? I

ndividuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-40, a range considered obese or seriously obese. Even in the presence of other necessary factors, patients may only qualify if they are within this range. Additionally, the following should be present:

  • Committed to improving health and well-being – The gastric balloon will certainly help jumpstart weight loss. However, the most successful patients are those who fully commit themselves to living a new, healthier lifestyle and developing the tools needed for long-term success well beyond the balloon’s removal.
  • Willing to participate in a medically supervised program – Because the goal of the gastric balloon procedure is to aid patients in the early, most difficult stages of weight loss and lifestyle change, medical supervision and support is crucial. In order to ensure that patients are obtaining optimal results, our gastric balloon program, O.N.E. Weigh, utilizes a network of community partners who specialize in dietary and/or exercise programs. Throughout the course of the program, patients must commit to ongoing education and support with these partners through monthly meetings.
  • Ready to breakthrough weight loss barriers without surgery – The gastric balloon is not a quick fix, but it also not major surgery. The ideal patient will be one who is thoroughly committed to their health and weight loss journey but wishes to reach these goals through less invasive options and often with the hope of avoiding surgical intervention.

If these factors sound familiar, there’s a good chance that the gastric balloon procedure is the one you’ve been searching for. To know for sure, schedule a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists. He or she will answer any questions you may have and offer additional insight surrounding the procedure, our ongoing support system, and long-term results. When combined with your own commitment, it just may be the end to your weight struggles once and for all.