Removable Gastric Balloons Jumpstart Weight Loss: Are They Right For You?

el Dr. Christopher McGowan,
mayo 17, 2024

When considering a non-surgical weight loss procedure, most patients prioritize flexibility, safety, and efficacy. Gastric balloons check all those boxes while offering a completely reversible, minimally invasive, and less costly option for sustainable weight loss.

Benefits of Gastric Balloons

Gastric balloons can help patients lose 30 to 50 pounds on average (though many will lose more), and improve their cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine health. Gastric balloons are ideal for kick-starting your weight loss journey, and they have been proven to help patients lose three to four times more weight than diet and exercise alone.

Proven Track Record

Intra-gastric balloons have been used in obesity management for over two decades, with their design and technology evolving as weight loss specialists collect data from patient experiences. True You Weight Loss offers two types of gastric balloons – the ORBERA® and the adjustable Spatz3 – giving patients options and flexibility for losing weight and reclaiming their health.

Procedure Overview

The 15-minute procedure involves placing a small silicone balloon into the stomach with an endoscope, a flexible tube fitted with a small camera. A highly trained gastroenterologist then fills the balloon with saline, taking up room in the stomach and giving patients a feeling of fullness that limits food intake. The balloon stays in place for about 6 to 8 months, during which time patients receive nutrition and ongoing medical support to maintain their weight loss. 

ORBERA® Intragastric Balloon System 

The ORBERA® Intragastric Balloon System is a safe, effective, minimally invasive tool for adults who have struggled to lose weight and keep it off with diet and exercise alone. The ORBERA® balloon can be placed in about 15 minutes in an outpatient procedure using sedation (no general anesthesia, which requires a ventilator). In clinical trials, patients lost an average of 21.8 pounds with ORBERA®, but True You Weight Loss patients see even better results, losing an average of 30 to 50 pounds, thanks in part to the ongoing support, physician access, and nutrition coaching we offer to all our patients.

Spatz3 Adjustable Balloon

Spatz3 is the first-of-its-kind adjustable weight loss balloon, meaning a patient’s care team can make adjustments after the balloon is placed to ensure the best results. Sometimes a patient needs saline removed to ease discomfort or more saline added to promote continued weight loss after hitting a plateau. Spatz3 is the only adjustable gastric balloon on the market, and True You Weight Loss was one of the first two centers in the U.S. to offer it during the clinical trial period. Eighty-four percent of patients lose more than 10 percent of their total body weight or 25 percent of their excess weight with the Spatz3 balloon.

Gastric balloons are one of many non-surgical weight loss procedures available to patients who want sustainable results without undergoing surgery. Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Advantages of Gastric Balloons

1)  No surgery means no incisions and no long recovery. Gastric balloon placement is a minimally invasive procedure, taking less than half an hour in an outpatient setting. Most patients return to their normal activities within a few days.

2)  Gastric balloons are reversible and only designed to be in place for up to 8 months. Removal is also non-surgical with minimal downtime. They are an excellent choice for patients who want to lose weight quickly and keep it off through nutrition, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

3)  Gastric balloon placement is less costly than surgery. The gastric balloon costs a fraction of the price tag for bariatric surgeries, including gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy. At True You Weight Loss, we offer a number of financing plans to help make our procedures affordable.

4)  Many patients who want to lose weight are eligible for gastric balloons – they’re generally indicated for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. In most cases, bariatric surgery is only advised for patients with a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 if the patient also has a weight-related health condition, such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension. Gastric balloons are a great option for patients with a lower BMI who still want to lose weight to improve symptoms of a weight-related health condition or prevent additional weight gain and its potential complications.

5)  Gastric balloons are safe and effective at improving health outcomes. Many patients who have undergone a gastric balloon procedure report better blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and improved symptoms of sleep apnea. In addition, since they are completely non-surgical, gastric balloons come with far fewer risks than traditional bariatric surgery.

Downsides of Gastric Balloons

1)  Patients lose less weight overall than with traditional bariatric surgery. Gastric balloons work well to kick off weight loss, but they don’t offer the same dramatic results as surgical options.

2)  Some patients regain weight after balloon removal. It’s critical to have a healthy diet and exercise plan in place before you get a gastric balloon. You will need to maintain good habits and follow your nutrition plan closely to prevent regaining weight after the balloon is removed.

3)  Some patients experience unpleasant side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux. Side effects are most common in the days following the balloon placement procedure.

4)  Lifestyle changes are necessary to make weight loss stick. Gastric balloons give patients a great headstart on long-term weight loss, but they’re not a permanent fix. Patients need to understand their body’s nutritional needs, control portions and food intake, manage stress, and exercise regularly.

Expert Care at True You Weight Loss

True You Weight Loss offers both the ORBERA® and Spatz3 balloons. Our three triple board-certified physicians have a wealth of experience in placing and adjusting gastric balloons through state-of-the-art endoscopic technologies.

Dr. Lauren Donnangelo, Dr. Daniel Maselli, and el Dr. Christopher McGowan, have performed thousands of endobariatric procedures to help people lose weight without surgery. True You Weight Loss is one the highest volume clinics in the country for non-surgical weight loss procedures, and we offer the necessary lifetime of support patients need to make their weight loss sustainable.

To learn more about gastric balloons and the other non-surgical weight loss procedures offered at True You Weight Loss, please contact us to solicitar una consulta.

el Dr. Christopher McGowan,
el Dr. Christopher McGowan,

Dr. Christopher McGowan, MD, a leader in endobariatrics, specializes in non-surgical obesity treatments and is triple-board-certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Obesity Medicine. Renowned for pioneering endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) with over 2,000 procedures, his global influence and research contributions define him as a top expert.

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