When Should You Consider the Non-Surgical Balloon?

Considering a non-surgical option for weight loss? Find out everything you need to know about gastric balloons and if this procedure is right for you.

A person pinching the skin on their abdomen, with drawn arrows and a silhouette outline illustrating potential weight loss and body contouring effects.
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There are many treatments available to help people who are overweight effectively lose weight if diet and exercise aren’t producing the desired results. One of these is the non-surgical balloon for weight loss or gastric balloon.

Below, we review some of the most frequently asked questions about the non-surgical weight loss balloon or gastric balloon. Read on to learn more about this treatment and determine if it’s the right option for you.

What Is the Non-Surgical Weight Loss Balloon?

A gastric balloon is a medical device designed to help individuals lose weight without surgery. It works by reducing the available space in your stomach, thereby limiting how much you can eat and helps you feel full and satiated faster. In turn, this enables you to lose weight.

As a noninvasive procedure, getting the non-surgical balloon procedure does not involve incisions or changes to the digestive system and is reversible, unlike other therapies such as gastric bypass. This procedure is also temporary, and typically, the balloon is removed after six months or maybe removed earlier depending on your doctor’s or care team’s guidance.

How Does It Work?

Overview of the Procedure

Your doctors will use an endoscope to examine your stomach and esophagus to ensure no obstruction exists and you are not at risk. The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and light attached. Once your doctors have determined that nothing could impact the balloon, such as a stomach ulcer, your doctors will pass a balloon catheter through the mouth into the stomach.

The catheter has a deflated balloon on one end. Once the catherer is passed down, your doctors will insert an endoscope through the mouth adjacent to the catheter to ensure that the deflated balloon is fully located in the stomach, before they start filling the balloon with normal saline to the size of approximately a grapefruit. The catheter and endoscope are removed, leaving the balloon in place.

The gastric balloon treatment is an outpatient procedure, and it takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. In most cases, the patients return home to rest in comfort the day of their procedure.

Post-Procedure: Lifestyle and Nutrition Changes

In the first two weeks after the procedure, you will need to go on a liquid diet. You will transition to soups and soft foods within two weeks post-procedure and regular food within 3-4 weeks.

The gastric balloon remains in place for a six-month period, and during this time, you will receive weight loss guidance and support from a qualified dietitian and the members of your healthcare team.

This period gives you time to refine your eating habits to achieve sustainable, long-term results. The idea is to help you establish a routine and lifestyle that you can continue even after the balloon has been removed. In this way, your weight loss journey can continue unassisted.

To fast-track your weight loss goals, your doctor may also encourage you to perform cardiovascular and strength training exercises within one or two weeks after the procedure.

Is the Gastric Balloon for You?

Many individuals choose the gastric balloon procedure over alternative weight loss therapies because it offers the following benefits:

  • It Is Noninvasive. The procedure doesn’t require surgery, and no incisions are made to your body. There is no healing period and major pain in the post-procedure period.

  • There Is Minimal Downtime. The recovery period is typically short, and you can return to your regular activities within a few days after the procedure.

  • It Is Reversible. The gastric balloon is reversible, unlike bariatric surgery procedures like gastric sleeve, which involves removing a large part of your stomach, or gastric bypass, which entails making changes to your stomach and small intestine.

  • Low Risk of Complications. The gastric balloon has a very low risk of complications, and side effects are typically manageable. These may include stomach discomfort, nausea and acid reflux.

  • It Is Effective. Patients achieve an average weight loss of 10% of their total weight. This amount of weight loss is enough to create a significant positive impact on their quality of life, including improving health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Additionally, it is possible to lose more, depending on how well you follow your nutrition and exercise plan.

Am I a Candidate for a Gastric Balloon?

The gastric balloon procedure is typically recommended for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30. You may also qualify for a gastric balloon procedure if your BMI is 27 to 29.9 if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • High cholesterol

  • Fatty liver disease (NAFLD or MASLD)

  • Sleep apnea

A gastric balloon procedure is often an independent weight loss option but can also be used to prepare you for major weight loss surgery.

What Are the Benefits of a Gastric Balloon Procedure?

As discussed, a gastric balloon helps you lose weight by making you feel full sooner and restricting your food intake.

You may find developing and maintaining healthier eating habits less challenging with a gastric balloon. You can also work out without confidence, as exercising with a gastric balloon is safe.

Further, losing weight can help improve your overall health and promote longevity. The potential health benefits of weight loss include the following:

  • Reduced pressure on the arteries, improving heart health

  • Decreased risk of stroke

  • Improved sleep quality

  • Lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels

  • Increased mobility

  • Less stress on bones and joints

  • Improved mood

  • Better quality of life

Learn More About Gastric Balloon and Get Support on Your Weight Loss Journey

Bariendo is a weight management platform that makes innovative endoscopic weight loss procedures such as gastric balloons more accessible.

Our goal is to help our patients achieve healthy, sustainable and long-lasting weight loss through nonsurgical approaches that leave no scars and require minimal downtime.

Our doctors have helped thousands of patients achieve their weight loss goals. If you wish to know more about the gastric balloon procedure and if it’s the right option for you, reach out to us for a free consultation. We look forward to supporting you on your weight loss journey!

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