Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon procedure is a non-surgical weight loss option. If you struggle with your weight and don’t want to undergo surgery or don’t qualify for weight loss surgery, a gastric balloon might be the solution you are looking for. 

What is a Gastric Balloon? 

A gastric balloon, also known as a stomach balloon, is an inflatable medical device that is temporarily placed into the stomach to reduce weight. The insertion of a gastric balloon helps you lose weight by limiting how much you can eat and making you feel fuller faster. The FDA has approved the gastric balloon for use for 6 months and then in must be removed. 

How a Gastric Balloon Works

The balloon technology safely limits the amount you can eat. Combined with a healthy diet and comprehensive coaching, patients will learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes a permanent part of their life. This combination of restricting food intake with behavioral changes has proven to achieve significant weight loss with some patients losing more than twice as much weight compared to diet and exercise alone.

Benefits of Having a Gastric Balloon Procedure

Obesity is a common problem that can impact your quality of life, putting you at risk for several other diseases or conditions often referred to as comorbidities. Examples of comorbidities include: 

  • High blood pressure 
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • High cholesterol
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

By reducing your weight, you significantly lessen your risk of developing these health issues. If you have one or more of these conditions already, you may find that you no longer have them, or they’re much less severe, as you lose weight. Weight loss can also lower your overall medical costs and open the door to an extended and enhanced life.  

In addition to the great health benefits that come from reducing your body weight, gastric balloons offer advantages such as: 

  • No surgery
  • No medications
  • More affordable than surgical options
  • Temporary and reversible 
  • Available to patients who may not be eligible for weight loss surgery

What to Expect During and After the Gastric Balloon Procedure  

The balloon is filled with saline (saltwater) and placed temporarily inside your stomach in an outpatient medical setting. The procedure lasts about 20 minutes while you are comfortably sedated under anesthesia. An endoscope is used to insert the balloon into the stomach, and saline is used to inflate the balloon when they are properly positioned. Once the balloon is inflated, the endoscope is removed, and the insertion procedure is complete. The balloon remains in the stomach for six months.

When filled with saline, the balloon helps you lose weight and encourage healthy eating habits by taking up room in your stomach, so there is less space for food. You can still eat the healthy foods you enjoy, but the balloon acts as built-in portion control, helping you feel full and less hungry. 

Who is Eligible for a Gastric Balloon? 

You only need a BMI of 30 or higher to undergo the gastric balloon procedure. As a result, it is a weight loss option for lighter individuals who wish to avoid or may not be candidates for other forms of bariatric surgery. Find out what your BMI is using our online calculator.

If you find that your BMI is above 40 you may want to consider other weight loss surgery options as the balloon has not shown to be as effective for individuals with a BMI over 40.  The best way to find out what’s right for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Howard at our office in The Woodlands.