The Gastric Balloon: Preparation for Placement & What to Expect After Surgery

Gastric Balloon

The Gastric Balloon is a wise choice when you want the power of bariatric surgery without committing to a long-term procedure like the gastric sleeve.

The gastric balloon can help you lose between 7% to 15% of your excess body fat, all in a six month period. That’s between twenty and fifty pounds in just half a year. Think of all the new clothes you could fit into, all the good looks you’d get, with this tiny, inflatable device.

A weight loss journey is never easy. But with the balloon restricting how much you eat; you lose weight fast, without feeling deprived.

Get the facts before you commit. Here are some things you should know before you schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon, such as the big question, “Is the surgery worth it?”

Is a Gastric Balloon Worth It?

Gastric Balloon Surgery is growing in popularity with those wanting safe and long-term weight loss.

The reasons are threefold.

  • Gastric balloon is not as expensive as other bariatric procedures.
  • The balloon can be placed and inflated by a skilled surgeon in minutes, with you walking out the door of the surgical center soon after.
  • The procedure is removed after six short months, but can provide you with lifelong health results.

Now that you know what the gastric balloon does, it’s important to learn how the device works.

How the Balloon Helps with Rapid Weight Loss

The balloon device itself is tiny, like a pill. With some brands, you swallow the device down with a glass of water.

In other cases, your bariatric surgeon will insert the device into your stomach by way of a tube down your throat. You will be sedated during this time and won’t feel a thing.

Your surgeon will inflate the device using an endoscopic camera while viewing all the action on a monitor positioned close-by.

Once inflated, the device occupies a significant amount of space inside your stomach. The next time you eat or drink something, your stomach will fill-up much faster.

In turn, you feel satiated with fewer bites.

You’ll find yourself eating less, but you won’t feel hungry all the time like before.

The gastric balloon encourages you to eat fewer calories while the weight falls off.

Your bariatric surgeon will follow up regularly after your procedure to ensure you are eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. The gastric balloon and healthy living are the dual keys to defeating obesity for good.

Want to know how the procedure works?

How the Gastric Balloon is Implanted and Inflated

Like any other type of surgery, you will be provided with explicit instructions by your bariatric surgical team that will prepare you for surgery. The tips given also ensure a healthy and safe procedure throughout. Follow the team’s instructions, which include not eating or drinking in the hours before surgery.

As a tip, you should plan to take someone with you to your surgical appointment. You will be placed under light sedation and should have a ride home. That person can also drive you to pick up any prescriptions you might need to counteract any side effects.

Common side effects of the gastric balloon include heartburn and acid reflux. These can be managed with doctor prescribed or over the counter medications and should subside with time.

The entire gastric balloon procedure takes around a half an hour, and you will be cleared for home a short time later.

Inserting the Balloon

Once sedated, the surgeon will insert a tube into your stomach via your throat. The tube is pre-loaded with the inflatable device which is implanted into your stomach cavity.

Your surgeon inflates the tube with saline or a safe, pressurized gas, depending on the type of gastric balloon being used.

Once inflated, the surgery is over, and the healing process begins.

How to Properly Heal After Gastric Balloon Surgery

Even though the intragastric balloon is minimally invasive, it is still a surgery, and all surgeries have risks.

The time immediately following your procedure is the most critical. To prevent infections and foster safe healing, plan to take it easy. Here’s the typical schedule of a person who has just arrived back home after having a gastric balloon placed.

Day One – Back Home

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Your body needs to get accustomed to the gastric balloon. Even though rejection is not likely, you may feel some nausea afterward. This will pass. It is important to sip water and gradually increase your liquid intake until you are consuming healthy amounts.

Eventually, you should aim for around two liters of water or other liquids throughout the day. This will come with time, but drink all you can. Your body requires liquids to facilitate safe and fast healing.

First Three Days

Your doctor will put you on a liquid diet at first. Consuming nothing but soups, milk, and fruit juices over a three-day span may not sound too exciting, but you can do it. Just think of it as a small obstacle on your journey to lifelong health.

Because you are told to refrain from solid foods during this period, your surgeon will connect you with a dietician. This nutrition expert’s job is to ensure you are consuming enough calories for healthy amounts of weight loss.

When you work up to drinking more liquids, keep it coming. Drink more but don’t drink quickly. Chugging down a gallon of water may seem efficient, but rapid water consumption can also make you sick. Sip slowly but consume as much as you can. Try to stay away from beverages that are likely to aggravate your stomach, like fizzy drinks, coffee, fatty foods, ice cream, and chocolate.

End of the First Week

At the end of the first week your stomach should be healed enough to allow for semi-solid foods. You can begin making your soups a little thicker and add a few fruit purees. You are also encouraged to move your body a little. Get some exercise but take it slow. Start with a gentle cardio, like brisk walking.

Week Two and Beyond

A hand writing the word weight loss on a white background.

Your doctor will encourage you to start eating normally at the start of the second week. Choose healthy, well-balanced meals, but take it easy, especially at first. Your stomach will fill-up faster than before, so test the waters with tiny bites, chewing each one as thoroughly as you can. You will soon learn how much is “enough” to eat, whether it’s a snack or meal.

Your doctor may give you a list of foods to focus on like healthy meats, veggies, and whole grains. Follow this advice to receive the best long-term results with your gastric balloon.

Don’t eat too much, however. You will be told to cap your calories at around 1200 per day. Eat right, but not too much with a gastric balloon. That’s the way to lose weight the healthy way.

After Six-Months, the Gastric Balloon is Removed (or Replaced)

Just think, from the day you get home from the gastric balloon surgery to the six-month appointment where you have the device removed, you have a chance to sprint toward your weight loss goal.

As you heal, you have an objective to aim for – the ultimate finish line – when the weight does finally come off, and you’re able to start living life with more energy, vitality, and health.

You can push yourself to complete your goal following the gastric balloon by following your doctor’s instructions to consume a low-fat diet and engage in regular exercise.

At the end of the six months, you will schedule a procedure that will be much like the first.

The doctor will sedate you, locate the device intraorally, and remove it using an endoscopic camera. The procedure takes around a half hour, like before. Your stomach, once healed, will soon return to its normal capacity.

From that point onward, it is up to you to keep up with the results you have achieved, so you can maintain the level of weight loss you earned for yourself.

Replacing the Gastric Balloon

If at the end of the procedure, you decide that you want to keep up with the effects of gastric balloon, your doctor can place a new device to extend your treatment program.

Of course, you and your doctor may decide to proceed with another type of bariatric procedure, like the gastric sleeve, which is a safe and popular choice for lifelong weight loss.

Which Type of Gastric Balloon is Right for You?

Your bariatric surgical office will help you determine which type of balloon device is right for you. There are two brands in popular use today.

Obaln's website is shown on the screen.


This FDA-approved device is swallowed like a pill and inflated with a safe, pressurized gas.

A total of three balloons will be inserted over the course of the treatment. The first Obalon device is placed during the initial surgery with subsequent balloons inserted at various stages in month two.

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Orbera’s gastric balloon is one of the longest lasting on the market. There have been over 220,000 Orbera intragastric balloons inserted all over the world.

Orbera gives you an interactive weight loss experience complete with a dedicated app and virtual coaching for up to 12 months. Use the app to find recipes, connect with dieticians, and attend group sessions with other goal-oriented individuals.

Are You a Good Candidate for a Gastric Balloon?

How do you know if the gastric balloon is right for you?

Have you tried everything to lose weight, including all of the diets and exercise programs you could get your hands on?

Are you relatively healthy with a body mass index between 30 and 40?

Are you willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating right and exercising more?

If so, then you might be an excellent candidate for the gastric balloon.

By choosing the device for the short-term six-month period, you gain all of these important benefits.

  • Fast weight loss
  • Healthy weight loss.
  • Feel Full Faster
  • Without Feeling Deprived

Other Benefits of Gastric Balloon

There are two more benefits of gastric balloon placement you should know about.

Reduce the Effects of Obesity-Related Ailments or Make Them Disappear!

Since obesity is connected to so many diseases and other health issues, the gastric balloon can help you get rid of these ailments for good.

If you suffer from one or more obesity-related issues such as:

  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • NAFLD (Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
  • NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis)
  • Type 2 diabetes

The gastric balloon could help you get rid of these symptoms altogether. Some patients toss out their prescriptions (after speaking with their doctors first) because they no longer need them.

Losing even a little bit of weight with the gastric balloon can lead to untold health benefits, a reduction of comorbid ailments being one of them.

The Gastric Balloon Affects Your Hormones to Aid in Weight Loss

The placement of the gastric balloon affects some hormones within your body, namely the ones that affect hunger and satiety.

You will not only fill-up your stomach faster, but you won’t be as hungry overall.

Eating a healthy diet will be a breeze because you won’t crave bad eating!

Do You Think a Gastric Balloon Might Be Right For You? Schedule a Consultation to Find Out

A doctor is examining a woman's chest with a stethoscope.

No matter how much internet research you do, at some point, you need to get a professional’s opinion.

Is the gastric balloon procedure a good move in your journey to losing weight? Find out by calling a bariatric surgery office near you.

Healthy Life Bariatrics is one such destination. Located in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Moein and his team of bariatric professionals have successfully helped many patients on their journey to healthier living.

Schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Moein by calling (310) 807-1735 to choose a time that works for you.

Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki
September 14, 2020
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