Gastric balloon. Lose weight without surgery


A gastric balloon, also called intragastric balloon, is a non-surgical tool used to treat obesity.

The procedure is quick and simple, with no adverse side effects. After placing the balloon, you will return home the same day. No surgery, no pain, no wounds.

The procedure helps you lose weight by limiting how much you eat. Also, it makes you feel fuller faster. During the treatment, you will re-educate your eating habits to maintain the weight loss results after the balloon removal.

Yes, gastric balloon results in long-term weight loss. But that is only true when used along with a rigorous diet and exercise program. After all, they are considered the base of weight loss therapy.

Many patients have achieved their ideal weight with this minimally invasivenon-surgical weight loss treatment. So let’s talk about everything you need to know about gastric balloons.

What is the gastric balloon?

The gastric balloon is a high quality silicone balloon with a safety valve system. It is introduced endoscopically into the patient’s stomach to fill it partially and reduce its capacity.

With this method, the reduced capacity leads to satiation by slowing the food passage from the stomach to the intestines. This means that you will feel full in a shorter amount of time.

This restrictive method is the same used by the surgical gastric band. But without anesthesia, pain, or abdominal scarring.

The great advantage of the gastric balloon is that it forces you to regulate the amount of food intake. It prevents you from overeating and helps you change your eating habits.

In the long run, these habits will help the patient to lose weight and maintain the results once the balloon is removed.

The balloon is designed to stay in the stomach for six months, but the total duration of treatment is 12 months (6 months with the balloon + 6 months of control and follow-up).

The extensive experience already obtained with this treatment, and the safety profile of this weight loss solution, make it very popular.

Which gastric balloon to choose: Orbera or Elipse ?

In the last year, the Elipse balloon has gained popularity. Unlike the Orbera, it does not require endoscopy or anesthesia.

The patient swallows a tiny capsule containing the deflated balloon on an empty stomach. The capsule is connected with a thin tube. When the doctor confirms that the balloon is in place, he fills it with saline solution through the tube using a total volume between 400 and 700 ccs.

Based on the feedback received, patients usually have no difficulty swallowing the capsule. The procedure is quick and easy!

The Elipse program lasts 16 weeks. After that time, a thin valve automatically opens and allows the balloon to empty. Then, it will be expelled naturally through the digestive tract without additional procedures.

However, specialists in the Servi Digest clinic do not recommend Elipse balloon.

The list of complications posted on the manufacturer’s website is significant.

Among the main risks, there is a possibility of obstruction or not removing the balloon after the 16-week treatment. Of course, this implies that the patient will have to go to surgery to ensure the removal.

On the other hand, the Orbera balloon offers more guarantees and less risk. It is the safest, non-surgical weight loss treatment available at the moment. So far, more than 277,000 ORBERA balloons have been implanted worldwide. This gives it a safer profile!

What is the success rate of weight loss balloon ?

The good results rate is around 80% of the treated patients. There is an average weight reduction of between 15 and 20 kg! The results depend on each patient and the proper follow-up. In some cases, even superior results have been achieved (up to 30 kg).

On average, the success of the balloon at removal (6 months after insertion) can be 34.5% EWL (excess weight loss), with a range of 7%–56%. Also, this option is more effective in patients with a BMI>40 kg/m2.

During the treatment, the patient will re-educate his eating habits to keep the weight loss after removing the balloon. If necessary, a multidisciplinary team will propose a program of weight loss maintenance.

Remember, the gastric balloon works but requires a commitment to a healthier lifestyle! Only in that way can you achieve and maintain its long-term effects.

As with weight loss surgery, the intragastric balloon may help improve your quality of life by addressing health conditions related to being overweight, such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Osteoarthritis and general joint pain.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

What kind of patients can undergo the treatment?

The gastric balloon procedure is ideal for patients who need to lose weight and have failed to do so with multiple diets and exercise. However, the patients must have the capacity to acquire new nutritional habits.

To undergo treatment, the patient must fulfill these requirements:

– Be 18 years old or older.

– Be willing to follow a supervised professional program.

Criteria according to Body Mass Index (BMI)

  • Overweight and mild obesity cases with a BMI >30 kg/m2.
  • Moderate obesity with BMI between 30 – 35 kg/m2.
  • Some severe obesity cases with a BMI between 35 and 40 kg/m2 without associated diseases.
  • In the case of patients with super obesity(BMI >50 kg/m2) who need to lose weight and improve their health before undergoing surgery.

In general, when BMI> 40 kg/m2, the best treatment is a gastric sleeve surgery or any type of bariatric surgery. However, in certain patients who reject surgery, a noninvasive treatment like this one can be used. Also, it can be seen as a jump-start in their weight loss journey!

No matter your case, the treatment is chosen according to the degree of obesity and general health status. Also, a personalized diet and exercise plan will help you take on a healthy lifestyle.

Are there any contraindications?

Not all patients would be good candidates for noninvasive weight loss procedures. There are absolute contraindications for the gastric balloon! The patient can’t have previous gastrointestinal surgery, the presence of a large hiatal hernia, or a bleeding lesion of the upper digestive tract.

Also, your doctor will advise against having this procedure if you suffer from a bleeding disorder, active alcoholism or drug addiction, and important liver disease.

Your doctor should also consider pregnancy, some medications, and psychiatric diseases.

How is the gastric balloon placed?

It is a simple and quick procedure. The gastric balloon is inserted through the mouth and placed endoscopically inside the stomach. Then, when the correct position is confirmed, it is filled with a sterile saline solution, allowing it to float freely inside the stomach.

The procedure is performed under deep sedation, so the patient will not feel any discomfort or pain. It lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.

After the balloon placement, the patient returns home, carrying out his usual activities in the coming days. We recommend that the patient remains in Barcelona for two or three days to see his progress.

In general, it is normal to feel some gastric discomfort after the treatment. Some nausea and vomiting may occur during the first days, so you must follow a proper diet and medication.

The gastric balloon is a safe and effective treatment whose complications are very minimal and rare. However, they can occur. But do not worry because your doctor will assess your particular case to individualize the risks and inform you properly.

How is the gastric balloon placed Video

When and how is the gastric balloon removed?

The balloon will be inside your stomach for six months. After that, the extraction is safe and simple.

The stomach will return to its usual form. Its dimensions will be similar to the ones it had before. However, the stomach (and you) will be used to other eating habits.

The balloon is removed endoscopically and under deep sedation. The procedure lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.

How much does gastric a balloon cost?

The cost of the gastric balloon at Servidigest Barcelona clinic (Spain) is 4,800 euros. The price includes:

  • First endoscopy.
  • Preoperative exams.
  • Balloon placement and removal.
  • Medical supplies.
  • All visits for one year to the multidisciplinary team of specialists.


According to WHO (World Health Organization), obesity is one of the most persistent epidemics of the 21st century. It has drastically increased because of poor eating habits and lack of physical exercise.

Obese people may suffer from other pathologies such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular diseases. They may also have psychological problems, sleep apnoea, gynecological, digestive, and liver disorders.

If you have excess weight, you are at risk of increasing the probability of uterine and colon cancer. In the long term, people who suffer from this health condition may evolve towards obesity. Therefore, its progression can affect health significantly.

Dr Patricia Gonçalves - Gastric balloon specialist

Doctor Patricia Gonçalves da Cunha

Gastric balloon specialist

Dr. Luis Yip - Gastric balloon specialist

Doctor Luis E. Yip Baldeón

Gastric balloon specialist

Do you want more information about gastric balloon?

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    Other articles that may interest you – External links – Bibliography

    Intragastric Balloon Treatment for Obesity: Review of Recent Studies. Tate CM, Geliebter A. Adv Ther. 2017

    Intragastric balloon for obesity. Fernandes M, Atallah AN, Soares BG, Humberto S, Guimarães S, Matos D, Monteiro L, Richter B.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007

    digestive system - Spain -Barcelona - Intragastric balloon – Sleeve - Endoscopic stomach reduction -Apollo 2

    Servidigest Medical-Surgical Center
    Balmes, 334. 08006 Barcelona (Spain)
    Closer metro stations: Pàdua / Lesseps

    Meet the medical team.

    ServiDigest Spain, Barcelona. Digestive system, bariatric surgery, Intragastric balloon. Sleeve, Endoscopic stomach reduction