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Gastric balloon, also called endoscopic intragastric balloon, is a non-surgical weight-loss procedure which involves the insertion of a specialized balloon inside the stomach to occupy space and limit the food carrying capacity of the stomach. This makes you feel full sooner and limits your intake to smaller portions. The procedure is temporary, and the balloon is usually removed after a period of 6-12 months.

Gastric balloon is a non-surgical weight-loss treatment recommended for those individuals who are not good candidates for weight-loss surgery or want to try non-surgical intervention.

Disease Overview

Obesity can negatively affect your life and health in a multitude of ways. It is associated with coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, depression, sleep apnea, infertility, and other conditions. Weight loss through bariatric surgery considerably reduces the risk of disease and improves obesity-related health conditions as well as other aspects of life.

Indications and Contraindications

The gastric balloon is indicated in the following patients:

  • Unable to lose weight with exercise and diet
  • Willing to participate in a medically-supervised lifestyle and behaviour modification program

The weight-loss system is contraindicated in the following patients:

  • Have previously undergone bariatric surgery
  • Are suffering from inflammatory diseases of the GI tract, large hiatal hernia, structural abnormalities in the pharynx or oesophagus, and are prone to upper GI bleeding
  • Allergy to materials used during the procedure
  • Alcoholics or drug abusers
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding


The placement of the gastric balloon is carried out as an outpatient procedure.
The procedure is performed endoscopically under sedation. The deflated gastric balloon is guided through your mouth and into the stomach. Once in the proper position checked by an endoscope, your doctor inflates the balloon with saline and a dye to the desired size. While the endoscope is removed, the balloon is retained in the stomach. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes to complete. You will be able to leave the hospital once you are comfortable.

The balloon is usually left in the stomach for 6-12 months, following which it is removed. The removal of the gastric balloon is also performed under sedation.

Post-Operative Care

Following the procedure, your throat might feel a little sore and you may experience some cramps and nausea as your stomach adjusts to the balloon.

You will be on a liquid or soft diet for a few weeks. This is followed by supervised diet and behaviour modification that will be taken care of by a multidisciplinary team of nutritionists, gastroenterologists, and medical weight-loss physicians. This helps you to continue eating healthy and staying active, which will greatly influence results.

Risks and complications

The Gastric balloon procedure is generally safe, but as with any procedure complications may occur and can include:

  • Oesophagal or gastric ulcers or perforation
  • Deflation of the balloon which can lead to blockage.
  • Should the balloon rupture, the dye is used, will be released in the urine and you can notify your doctor immediately.

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