Gastric Balloon: What is it? Indications, Benefits, Insertion Procedure and Involved Risks

It is a soft, expandable silicone ball inserted into the stomach endoscopically.

It is filled with a sterile solution, and its function is to provide a feeling of satiety and fullness.


The gastric balloon provides a quick start to gradual weight loss for those who have tried other options.

They are ideal solutions if you are looking to lose up to 70 pounds of excess weight but are not willing to undergo a more radical surgery option. They have tried diets, pills, and other weight loss programs without success that do not produce results.

The device itself is a soft silicone balloon or balloon inserted in a deflated state into the stomach and then inflated with a saline solution through a self-sealing valve once in the stomach.

The gastric balloon is designed to stay in place for six months.

In this non-surgical treatment, a small balloon is inserted into the stomach to help limit the amount of food eaten. This endoscopic treatment is sometimes used as a medically supervised weight loss program that includes nutrition, exercise, and support.


Gastric balloon benefits

One of the main benefits of the gastric balloon is avoiding invasive surgery and the risks associated with surgery. Since it only takes 15 minutes with a mild sedative, you can go home the same day.

This, in turn, means that a gastric balloon is less expensive than many surgical options. It’s only temporary, offering support as you lose weight and become more active.

Most people do not experience any complications, but you must be aware of the risks. Bleeding or perforation can occur due to injury during insertion or removal of the balloon.

Gastric discomfort, nausea, and vomiting are joint in the first few days after the balloon.

You may feel heaviness in your abdomen, abdominal and back pain, gastroesophageal reflux, or indigestion. Although rare, leakage or deflation of the balloon can occur.

Before the gastric balloon is inserted, your counselor will discuss a post-treatment diet with you. You can also get tips on an exercise program to help you lose weight.

Risks involved in the application of the gastric balloon

  • The gastric balloon requires anesthesia.
  • Bleeding and perforation may occur during insertion or removal.
  • Gastric discomfort such as nausea and vomiting may persist.
  • Pain affects approximately 1/3 of patients in the initial post-insertion phase.
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can occur.
  • Leakage or deflation (or spontaneous overinflation) can occur.
  • If the gastric balloon is deflated, it can migrate through the intestine, causing more severe problems and blockages.
  • Ulcers can occur from perforation of the stomach.
  • Aspiration after extraction can occur and lead to infection.

Procedure for inserting the gastric balloon

A small catheter carries the gastric balloon down the throat and into the stomach. Then a bariatric specialist uses an endoscope, a flexible tube with a tiny camera, to fill the balloon with gas or liquid, such as saline.

You will first have an initial consultation with your surgeon to discuss the procedure’s suitability, communicate your desired goal, discuss options, and discuss the details of the process.

Your surgeon will usually ask you to undergo some tests to determine your suitability for the procedure.

Your surgeon may also require you to follow a diet and activity plan, refrain from smoking and being around secondhand smoke (if applicable), and discontinue certain medications (if appropriate).

Once all the details are agreed upon and confirmed, a date is set for the procedure.

Before the procedure, a general anesthetic is usually administered. There are generally two techniques in a gastric bypass procedure: the open surgical technique or the laparoscopic technique.

In the open surgery technique, a large incision, usually 8-10 cm long, is made in the abdomen to expose the surgical area and allow the surgeon to readjust the size of your stomach so that only a tiny part of the stomach works.

This smaller stomach pouch is significantly smaller and is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine.

In the laparoscopic technique used by most surgeons, a surgical telescope is inserted through several small incisions, guided by a camera, and has surgical instruments attached to perform the procedure.

Many patients prefer the laparoscopic technique, which is less invasive than open surgery and has a faster recovery period.

The procedure generally takes about 2 to 4 hours. If the laparoscopic technique is used for the design, most patients are discharged from the hospital 2-3 days after the procedure.

However, you can expect a more extended hospital stay if the open surgery technique is used.

After the procedure, you will only be able to drink fluids for the first day or two. In general, you can slowly introduce solid foods after the second day. It is common to experience some pain, discomfort, and nausea.

Your surgeon will usually prescribe a particular diet plan after the procedure. You should be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks after the procedure, as long as it does not involve any strenuous activity or heavy lifting.

You should make a full recovery within four weeks of the procedure and show signs of weight loss.

How do I find the right surgeon?

The best way is to talk to a few surgeons and determine which surgeon you feel most comfortable with. You should contact reputable and reliable surgeons.

It is strongly recommended that you keep in mind that the surgeon you choose:

  • Be respectable and trustworthy.
  • Have a proven track record.
  • Is registered or accredited by your local government or the governing body or medical association.
  • That he has not been disqualified from practicing anywhere in the world.
  • That he has never been convicted of endangering the life of a patient.
  • That he has never been found guilty of negligence.
  • It should also include any preferences you may have. For example, you may feel more comfortable with a surgeon or someone who has more experience.

Diet after gastric balloon insertion

After this procedure, you must relearn how to drink and eat. Your diet will progress gradually, from liquid to pureed, then bland, and finally, you will resume your regular diet anytime after four weeks, but each moves at its own pace.

The patient begins with clear liquids during the first postoperative week and gradually continues with full liquids. For the first two days, be sure to drink warm fluids, no more than half a cup at a time.

Drink a small sip, sip slowly, don’t use a straw, and avoid carbonated beverages. Make sure you drink at least 10 cups of fluids throughout the day. To get enough calories and protein, consume more dairy products.

Add a tablespoon of good fats like olive oil, canola, or avocado oil to your drinks to provide essential fatty acids and prevent complications.

When you drink liquids, you can have coconut water, lemon water, green tea, iced tea, vegetable and soup broth, chicken and soup broth, skim milk, buttermilk, dal soups, and plain tea and coffee, etc. Do not add sugar to your drinks.

You can introduce pureed foods to your diet from the second week onwards. This will include items that are well cooked and mixed or pureed in a puree. Khichdi, porridge, and fruit yogurt are some excellent examples.

You should eat slowly in small bites, chew well, and stop once you feel full.

Starting in the third week, you can start with soft foods once comfortable with the puree diet.

Three to four weeks after the procedure, you gradually return to eating normally. Chew well, eat slowly, and eat little by little. At this time, start light exercise, such as walking.

Maintaining regular physical activity is essential to promote good circulation and help you reach a healthy weight. However, it is best to avoid strenuous exercise for six weeks until you have a standard solid diet.

Keep in mind

The information found on this website is for educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon for accuracy or precision for your specific situation and procedure.

The information provided is not a substitute for the advice of your physician/surgeon as it may not contain all of the known facts, risks, and side effects of this procedure.

Consult with your physician/surgeon regarding your circumstances and your personal procedure/treatment plan.

We are not responsible for any misinformation, inaccuracy, or any loss or damage suffered by you in connection with the services we provide you or the information provided on our website.