A gastric balloon, also known as an intragastric balloon, is a non-surgical weight loss procedure. It involves placing a saline-filled silicone balloon in the stomach. This helps you lose weight by limiting how much you can eat and making you feel fuller faster.

Here’s how the procedure typically works:

  1. A specialist will use an endoscope (a long tube with a camera on the end) to insert the balloon through the mouth and into the stomach.
  2. Once the balloon is in place, it’s filled with saline to partially fill the stomach, leaving less room for large amounts of food or drink.
  3. The procedure typically takes about 20-30 minutes and is usually done under sedation or mild anesthesia.
  4. The balloon is left in the stomach for about six months. Then it’s deflated and removed the same way it was placed.

The gastric balloon procedure is intended for those who haven’t had success with traditional methods such as diet and exercise or prescription medications. It’s seen as a less invasive alternative to other bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

However, a gastric balloon is not a permanent solution for weight loss. It should be used in conjunction with a long-term lifestyle modification program that includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity.