Gastric Balloon For Weight Loss


Gastric Balloon For Weight Loss is a new weight loss procedure in which a balloon is placed into a patient’s stomach via their throat, that provides the sensation of being full. Gastric balloon for weight loss has been proven to be safe and effective for up to 1 year, which makes it an excellent option for patients who have tried diet and exercise to lose weight but not had success.

What Is A Gastric Balloon?

A gastric balloon, also known as an Intragastric balloon or a stomach balloon is an inflatable medical device temporarily placed into the stomach to occupy about one-third of the stomach cavity. 

Benefits Of A Gastric Balloon

  • It is a 15-minute non-invasive outpatient weight loss procedure (weight loss procedure without surgery). This means, there are no incisions or hospitalization required.
  • It occupies about one-third of the stomach cavity which decreases the quantity of food that the stomach can hold. 
  • The presence of the gastric balloon interferes with stomach emptying so that food stays in the stomach longer. 
  • It promotes eating smaller quantities of food.

How is the balloon implanted?

There are two main types of gastric balloon – those which are implanted by endoscopy and those which are ‘procedureless’ or designed to be swallowed.

Endoscopic balloon implantation

Placement of an endoscopic gastric balloon takes approximately 20 minutes and is performed under sedation by a qualified gastroenterologist. Because the balloon is inserted and removed in a day clinic and does not involve surgery, it is considered to be a minimally invasive procedure. The gastric balloon is also completely reversible, and is removed from the stomach (after 6-12 months in place) in the same way it was placed (by endoscopy).

‘Procedureless’ balloon implantation

The Allurion (previously Elipse) ‘procedureless’ balloon is placed during a 20-minute consultation in our clinic. Under the guidance and supervision of our team, you will swallow the capsule with a glass of water. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, our team can assist you by gently stiffening the catheter with a thin wire.  After you have swallowed the capsule, an X-ray will be taken to make sure the balloon is located correctly in your stomach and it will then be inflated with fluid to approximately the size of a grapefruit. After filling, another X-ray is taken to make sure the balloon is fully inflated and located properly within the stomach. Our team will monitor you for a short period before allowing you to return home.

After approximately 16 weeks in the stomach, a valve on the balloon opens allowing the fluid in the balloon to empty so that the deflated balloon can be passed naturally into the toilet.

How does the gastric balloon work?

Gastric balloons are very effective at reducing appetite and improving feelings of fullness (or satiety) after eating.  They should be regarded as effective training wheels – they are temporary devices to help kick start your weight loss and institute long lasting dietary and lifestyle change.

The intragastric balloon is most effective when combined with a comprehensive lifestyle programme delivered by your doctor and specialist dietitian, behavioural and exercise professionals.

How much weight can I lose?

The amount of weight loss to be expected is specific to each device; but in general, most gastric balloons will achieve 10-20% TBWL (Total Body Weight Loss) on average; i.e. a 100kg person could expect to lose 10-20 kg.

The BMI Clinic team offer the gastric balloon in conjunction with our medically supervised program, incorporating regular, ongoing consultations with our specialist doctors, nurses, dietitians and behavioural psychologists, to ensure maximum results during the balloon placement, and maintenance of weight once the balloon is removed.

Features Of The Spatz3 Gastric Balloon

  • Volume-adjust up
  • Volume-adjust down
  • Highest success rates
  • Non-surgical weight loss
  • Walk-in, Walk-out treatment

Who Is Eligible For The Spatz3 Gastric Balloon Weight Loss Program?

If your *BMI is over 27, you are eligible for this non-surgical weight loss program. In some countries the minimum BMI is 30. 

Patients with certain medical conditions may not be eligible for the Spatz3 gastric balloon program. The decision to do the procedure must be made in consultation with the consultant gastroenterologist.

How Much Weight Can Be Lost With This Weight Loss Program?

It is important to understand that the balloon is a medical device to help reach weight loss and must be used with a planned diet, exercise and a behavior modification program. 

The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes. 

Average weight losses of approximately 16 to 25 kg have been reported with the Spatz gastric balloon. There is a possibility that you will lose only a small amount of weight or lose no weight at all while using the balloon. Your commitment to dietary and behavioral changes will determine your success. 

There is also a chance that unhealthy, uncontrolled weight loss can occur and create adverse health consequences. Ensure to have a consultation with your gastroenterologist about this.

Any Side Effects?

It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach will cause nauseavomiting or abdominal pain of varying intensity for a few days after placement. However, your gastroenterologist will prescribe medications to help minimize these potential side effects.

These side effects can persist during the first week. After the first week, once you start eating regularly, side effects will be related to the quantity or type of food you eat.
You may experience bloatingbelching, pain, nausea, vomiting or heartburn related to eating incorrectly.

Balloon Weight Loss Program

diagram of balloon weight loss program procedure

The gastric balloon procedure is a new weight loss system that aims to reduce the amount eaten at a meal and increase the feeling of being fuller longer after eating only small meals. Also known as the intragastric balloon, this type of weight loss treatment can help you lose weight without invasive surgery. 

During the procedure, a soft but durable balloon is inserted into your stomach through your mouth with the aid of an endoscope. The balloon is then filled with saline solution to occupy space in your stomach, leaving less room for large amounts of food and drink.

Patients will receive coaching from our multidisciplinary team of experts, including a gastroenterologist, nutritionist and medical weight loss physician. These experts will also continue to work with a patient after a balloon is removed at six months, for a total of 12 months.The gastric balloon is designed to be a weight loss tool that helps jump start the weight loss journey, with the balloon removal occurring after six months. It is sometimes used to help you lose enough weight prior to undergoing surgery, such as orthopaedic or bariatric surgery.

Types of Gastric Balloons

Your surgeon may only offer one type of gastric balloon. Offering a single gastric balloon option might be because the surgeon has only trained on a single type of gastric balloon. Don’t hesitate to ask about other gastric balloon options when you meet with your surgeon.


The Obalon is the latest FDA approved gastric balloon. There are two key differences from the other gastric balloons.

  1. The balloon is inserted via a pill that is swallowed with a glass of water.
  2. It is inflated with gas. The gas may reduce the risk of acute pancreatitis that can occur with saline-filled balloons.

A total of 3 balloons are inserted. The second balloon is added a month after the first one, and the third is added during the second month.


Obalon gastric balloon

Orbera Managed Weight Loss System

Orbera has been around the longest, has more 220,000 balloons distributed worldwide, and many successful patients.

Realizing that support and lifestyle changes are essential to patient success, Orbera offers a suite of tools to support their patients.

  • Orbera offers an app and coaching for 12 months after your procedure.
    • The Orbera app offers recipes and a few other items that may be worth checking out.
  • They do offer one-on-one dietitian appointments along with group sessions.
Orbera gastric balloon.

The Obalon balloon is typically placed in your doctors office by swallowing a pill and drinking some water.
The Reshape and Orbera balloons are placed in an outpatient clinic under light anesthesia via endoscopy.

How Do They Work?

Gastric Balloons work in 2 ways to help you lose weight.

Gastric balloon inflated.
  1. They reduce the available room in your stomach for food. The average stomach is 1.5 L in volume, and the average gastric balloon takes up close to half of that space. That leaves about 60% of your stomach available for food. You physically won’t be able to eat as much in one sitting as you could pre-gastric balloon.
  2. The most significant benefit may be that the balloon restricts the free passage of food and water. The restriction substantially slows the passage of food through your stomach, making you feel full quicker and stay full longer.

How Long Do They Last?

Gastric balloons are designed to stay in the stomach for six months. After six months they are deflated and removed via endoscopy.

Pros and Cons of Gastric Balloons

As with weight loss surgery, there are benefits and disadvantages to gastric balloons.

Pros and cons of gastric sleeve surgery.


  • It doesn’t require surgery.
  • It is quick and easy to place.
    • Note: Some balloons require anesthesia to place.
  • It results in weight loss.
  • It may result in long-term weight loss when used in conjunction with a diet and exercise program.
  • You can expect to lose between 20 to 50 pounds depending on your starting weight and lifestyle changes.
    • Most patients lose around 30% of excess body weight or 10% to 30% of their total starting weight.
  • You may feel full quicker and be less hungry while the balloon is in place.


  • Acid reflux is common. Prilosec or other anti-reflux medications are often prescribed.
  • Nausea and vomiting are very common during the first few days.
  • Vomiting after eating for the first few weeks is not uncommon.
  • It is temporary. How will you keep the weight off after the balloon is removed?
  • Stomach cramps are common.
  • Difficulty sleeping may occur. Sleep disturbances may be related to an uncomfortable stomach or acid reflux while laying down.
  • Acute pancreatitis is a rare risk from an overfilled saline balloon.

Are there any alternatives to a gastric balloon?

The simple approach to losing weight involves eating less, improving your diet and doing more exercise. Sometimes medication given by your GP can help.

There are surgical alternatives to a gastric balloon.

  • Gastric banding
  • Shortening your digestive tract
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Gastric bypass

Is silicone safe?

Many studies have been carried out to find if silicone is safe. There is no evidence to suggest that people who have gastric balloons have a higher risk of developing diseases such as cancer and arthritis.

What does the procedure involve?

Inserting a gastric balloon usually takes 20 minutes to an hour.

Your doctor may offer you a sedative to help you to relax.

Your doctor will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat. They may ask you to swallow when the endoscope is in your throat. This will help the endoscope to pass easily into your oesophagus (gullet) and down into your stomach.

Your doctor will be able to look for problems such as inflammation or ulcers. If they cannot see any problems, they will use the endoscope to pass the deflated balloon into your stomach. The balloon is attached to a soft tube and your doctor will use the tube to inflate the balloon with 650 to 750 millilitres of air or 400 to 700 millilitres of saline.

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