The weight loss gastric balloon system is an innovative nonsurgical procedure used to treat appropriately selected patients with obesity who want to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The FDA-approved procedure involves placing a temporary, soft balloon inside the patient’s stomach (endoluminal) for six months. The balloon takes up space in the stomach, limiting food intake and reinforcing proper portion control.
Patients must be willing to follow a 6-month health program with a weight loss clinic, beginning with the placement of the temporary balloon. The program includes a healthy diet and exercise plan, which are critical for patients to achieve significant weight loss results. Not all patients are candidates for this procedure. Patients should have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 40.
Patients will receive coaching from Dr. Erick Alayo and our dietitian.
Weight loss from the procedure can be rapid, with the majority of weight loss typically occurring in the first three months after placement. On average, patients lose 3.1 times the weight loss of diet and exercise alone. In studies, patients lost approximately 38% of their excess weight at six months.
What Happens During a Gastric Balloon Procedure?
Placement of the Balloon
During the procedure:
- An endoscope with a thin, deflated balloon is inserted through the patient’s mouth and placed into the stomach
- The balloon is then filled with sterile saline until it is about the size of a grapefruit, and stays in the stomach for six months
- No incisions are made during this noninvasive procedure
Removal of the Balloon
After six months:
- A nonsurgical procedure, similar to the insertion of the balloon, is performed to remove the balloon
- The balloon is deflated first and then removed
How to Prepare for a Gastric Balloon Procedure
Patients should avoid consuming any food or liquid for 12 hours prior to the procedure (both placement and removal of the balloon).
What Is the Recovery Time from the Procedure?
In the first few days after placement of the balloon, patients may experience nausea or vomiting. This may last up to two weeks for some patients. We will work with you to prescribe medication that will proactively manage these symptoms and help you adjust to the balloon.
Who Is Eligible for a Gastric Balloon Procedure?
Among the many choices of procedures for weight loss, not all patients are candidates for the weight loss balloon procedure. A full evaluation is needed to determine if a patient is eligible.
Ideal candidates include patients who:
- Are 22 years or older
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 40
- Are willing to participate in a medically supervised program
Conditions that may prevent a patient from having the procedure include:
- Previous gastrointestinal surgery
- Any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract (i.e. inflammatory bowel disease)
- Potential upper gastrointestinal bleeding or other congenital anomalies
- Large hiatal hernia or structural abnormality in the larynx or esophagus
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Past or present psychological disorders
- Regular use of anticoagulants, aspirin, anti-inflammatories or any other gastric irritants
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
Does Insurance Cover the Gastric Balloon Procedure?
The procedure is currently available to patients as a self-pay option. Insurance does not cover the balloon.