Ask The Expert - Gastric Balloon: What it is and How it Works

Dr. Alexandre Figueiredo

Dr. Alexandre Figueiredo - Medical Content Writer

Posted Jan 5, 2017

In our Bariatric Surgery Guide, you’ll find detailed information about different weight loss surgery procedures (gastric sleeve, band, and bypass).

In this post, we are going to define another type of procedure, the gastric balloon, which involves placing a silicone balloon into the stomach to aid weight loss.

In order to get professional insight into this treatment, we reached out to one of our partner hospitals, Kardiolita Hospital in Lithuania, and Dr. Nerijus Kaselis, experienced bariatric surgeon.

Dr. Nerijus Kaselis, MD With more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Dr. Kaselis specializes in obesity, general, and abdominal surgery. He has been continuously enriching his résumé through work exchanges around the world.

What is a gastric balloon?

A gastric balloon is an inflatable silicone balloon that is placed into the stomach of the patient with an endoscopic, non-surgical procedure.

How does the procedure work?

The gastric balloon procedure, or endoscopic intragastric balloon procedure, involves placing a deflated silicone balloon into the stomach through the esophagus using an endoscopic tube. The balloon is then filled with a sterile saline solution until it reaches the dimension of a grapefruit. The whole procedure lasts around 20-30 minutes.

Unlike other bariatric procedures, this cannot be considered a permanent solution. According to Dr. Kaselis, “After the gastric balloon is inserted into the stomach, the patient will keep it for a duration of 6 months. The purpose is to make less room for food, so that the patient feels full sooner.”

After 6 months, the balloon is deflated and then pulled out through the mouth. The stomach will then go back to its normal size.

Who are the ideal candidates for the gastric balloon procedure?

“The procedure is ideal for a selected group of patients, especially those who have difficulties in controlling weight before bariatric surgery”, explains Dr. Kaselis.

Gastric balloon is recommended for patients who need to lose weight before an operation or as a stand-alone treatment option for weight management.

Your surgeon will determine if you are eligible for a gastric balloon procedure, or will evaluate with you what other options to explore.

What is the difference between a gastric balloon and a gastric sleeve?

“While some procedures like gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass, can be considered long-term solutions, gastric balloon is only a transitional procedure. Its main goal is to help patients lose weight before the actual operation.”

Unlike gastric balloon, gastric sleeve is a surgical procedure where a portion of the stomach is removed.

What results can be expected with a gastric balloon?

It is crucial that the patient commits to following a healthy eating plan and undertaking physical exercise. The gastric balloon serves as a “support” to weight loss and it aims at helping patients get confident with new eating habits and lifestyle. Patients are deeply encouraged to maintain this healthy lifestyle also after the balloon has been removed.

We would like to thank Dr. Kaselis for his precious contribution!

About Kardiolita Hospital

As a JCI-accredited clinic, Kardiolita Hospital was acknowledged as the leading private general hospital in Lithuania. Active since 1998, it specializes in orthopedics and weight loss surgery and its 200+ medical staff have extensive experience in dealing with international patients.

Contact our Health Managers to get more information or a free, personalized quote!


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The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatments.

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