Vive Bariatrics

What Is a Gastric Balloon? A Comprehensive Guide

Weight loss can be a challenging journey, and for those seeking non-surgical options, the gastric balloon presents an effective solution. At VIVE Bariatrics, we offer the gastric balloon procedure as part of our comprehensive weight loss programs. This guide will explore what a gastric balloon is, how it works, its benefits, and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

What Is a Gastric Balloon?

A gastric balloon is a non-surgical weight loss device that is temporarily placed in the stomach to help you lose weight. The balloon occupies space in the stomach, leading to reduced food intake and promoting a feeling of fullness with smaller portions.

How Does a Gastric Balloon Work?

The gastric balloon works by physically filling a portion of your stomach, which reduces the amount of food you can eat before feeling full. Here’s a detailed look at how the process works:

1. Insertion Procedure

The balloon is inserted into your stomach through your mouth using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera. This procedure is typically performed under sedation and takes about 20-30 minutes.

2. Inflation

Once the balloon is in place, it is filled with saline solution to a size that fits comfortably in your stomach. The exact volume can be adjusted based on your individual needs and comfort.

3. Temporary Placement

The balloon remains in your stomach for a period of six months, during which time you will follow a supervised diet and exercise program to maximize weight loss.

4. Removal

After six months, the balloon is deflated and removed using the same endoscopic procedure. Post-removal, you will continue to receive support to maintain your weight loss.

Benefits of a Gastric Balloon

1. Non-Surgical

One of the main advantages of a gastric balloon is that it is a non-surgical procedure. There are no incisions, stitches, or scars, making it a less invasive option compared to bariatric surgery.

2. Quick Procedure

The insertion and removal procedures are quick, usually taking less than an hour each, with most patients able to go home the same day.

3. Effective Weight Loss

Studies have shown that patients can lose a significant amount of weight with a gastric balloon, especially when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

4. Improved Health

Weight loss achieved with a gastric balloon can lead to improvements in obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.

5. Psychological Benefits

Losing weight can boost self-esteem and confidence, improving overall quality of life.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

While the gastric balloon is generally safe, it is important to be aware of potential risks and side effects, which can include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Common in the first few days after balloon placement as your body adjusts.
  • Abdominal Discomfort: Some patients experience cramping or discomfort.
  • Balloon Deflation: Rarely, the balloon may deflate and pass into the intestines, which may require removal.
  • Infection: As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of infection.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Gastric Balloon?

The gastric balloon is suitable for individuals who:

  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-40.
  • Have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise alone.
  • Are looking for a non-surgical weight loss option.
  • Are committed to making lifestyle changes to support their weight loss journey.

However, it may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions, previous gastrointestinal surgeries, or those who are pregnant.

Preparing for Your Gastric Balloon Procedure

1. Consultation

Your journey begins with a thorough consultation at VIVE Bariatrics. During this visit, our team will assess your health, discuss your weight loss goals, and determine if the gastric balloon is the right option for you. This initial assessment includes reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical examination, and possibly ordering some tests to ensure you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

2. Pre-Procedure Guidelines

You will receive detailed instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This preparation phase is crucial for a successful outcome and includes:

  • Dietary Adjustments: You may need to follow a special diet for a few days before the procedure, typically consisting of clear liquids, to prepare your stomach.
  • Medication Adjustments: Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, to reduce the risk of complications.
  • Fasting: You will likely need to fast for at least 12 hours before the procedure to ensure your stomach is empty.

What to Expect During the Procedure

1. Sedation

The procedure is performed under sedation to ensure your comfort. Sedation helps you relax and remain comfortable throughout the procedure. You will be closely monitored by the medical team to ensure your safety.

2. Insertion

Using an endoscope, the deflated balloon is inserted through your mouth and into your stomach. The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera that allows the doctor to guide the balloon into place accurately.

3. Inflation

Once the balloon is in place, it is filled with saline solution. The exact volume can be adjusted to fit your individual needs and ensure that the balloon sits comfortably in your stomach.

4. Post-Procedure Monitoring

After the balloon is inserted, you will be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no immediate complications. Most patients experience some nausea or discomfort as their body adjusts to the balloon, but these symptoms usually subside within a few days.

Aftercare and Support

1. Diet and Nutrition

Following the procedure, you will work with a nutritionist to follow a prescribed diet plan. Initially, you will consume liquids and soft foods before gradually reintroducing solid foods. This staged approach helps your body adjust to the balloon and promotes effective weight loss.

2. Regular Follow-Ups

Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your diet or activity levels. These appointments provide an opportunity to address any concerns and ensure you’re on track to meet your weight loss goals.

3. Lifestyle Changes

To maximize your weight loss and maintain it after removing the balloon, adopt healthy lifestyle habits. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and ongoing support from your healthcare team. Behavioral therapy or counseling can also help you make lasting changes.

Long-Term Results

The success of a gastric balloon depends on your commitment to lifestyle changes. With the right support and dedication, many patients experience significant and lasting weight loss, leading to improved overall health and well-being. Long-term success requires:

  • Continued Adherence to Healthy Habits: Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep up with follow-up appointments even after removing the balloon to ensure you maintain your weight loss.
  • Support Systems: Engaging with support groups or counseling to stay motivated and address any challenges.


The gastric balloon offers a promising non-surgical option for those struggling with weight loss. At VIVE Bariatrics, we provide comprehensive support throughout your weight loss journey, helping you achieve your goals and improve your quality of life. If you’re considering a gastric balloon, schedule a consultation with our expert team to learn more about this innovative weight loss solution.