Gastric Balloon

Non-surgical Weight Loss Procedure

What is a gastric balloon?

The gastric balloon is a non-surgical intervention to assist in weight loss.

A soft, round, inflatable balloon made of medical-grade silicone is placed inside the stomach through the mouth without any need for surgery. Once inserted into the stomach, the empty balloon is filled with fluid, where it works to reduce appetite and prolong the feeling of fullness by occupying space.

Many gastric balloons are placed into the stomach by way of an endoscopy – a procedure where a doctor uses a long, flexible tube with a camera at the end to access your stomach through your mouth and oesophagus. Other gastric balloons are designed to be ‘procedureless’ and come packaged in a capsule which you can swallow before it is inflated. 

Gastric balloons are designed to remain in the stomach temporarily for a period ranging from 16 weeks up to 12 months. Balloons that are placed endoscopically are then deflated and removed by way of another endoscopy. The ‘procedureless’ balloon is designed to self-deflate and is then passed naturally into the toilet.

Orbera gastric balloon inside stomach for weight loss

Is the gastric balloon right for me?

How is the balloon implanted?

There are two main types of gastric balloon – those which are implanted by endoscopy and those which are ‘procedureless’ or designed to be swallowed.

Endoscopic balloon implantation

Placement of an endoscopic gastric balloon takes approximately 20 minutes and is performed under sedation by a qualified gastroenterologist. Because the balloon is inserted and removed in a day clinic and does not involve surgery, it is considered to be a minimally invasive procedure. The gastric balloon is also completely reversible, and is removed from the stomach (after 6-12 months in place) in the same way it was placed (by endoscopy).

‘Procedureless’ balloon implantation

The Elipse ‘procedureless’ balloon is placed during a 20-minute consultation in our clinic. Under the guidance and supervision of our team, you will swallow the capsule with a glass of water. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, our team can assist you by gently stiffening the catheter with a thin wire.  After you have swallowed the capsule, an X-ray will be taken to make sure the balloon is located correctly in your stomach and it will then be inflated with fluid to approximately the size of a grapefruit. After filling, another X-ray is taken to make sure the balloon is fully inflated and located properly within the stomach. Our team will monitor you for a short period before allowing you to return home.

After approximately 16 weeks in the stomach, a valve on the balloon opens allowing the fluid in the balloon to empty so that the deflated balloon can be passed naturally into the toilet.

How does the gastric balloon work?

Gastric balloons are very effective at reducing appetite and improving feelings of fullness (or satiety) after eating.  They should be regarded as effective training wheels – they are temporary devices to help kick start your weight loss and institute long lasting dietary and lifestyle change.

The intragastric balloon is most effective when combined with a comprehensive lifestyle programme delivered by your doctor and specialist dietitian, behavioural and exercise professionals.

How much weight can I lose?

The amount of weight loss to be expected is specific to each device; but in general, most gastric balloons will achieve 10-20% TBWL (Total Body Weight Loss) on average; i.e. a 100kg person could expect to lose 10-20 kg.

The BMI Clinic team offer the gastric balloon in conjunction with our medically supervised program, incorporating regular, ongoing consultations with our specialist doctors, nurses, dietitians and behavioural psychologists, to ensure maximum results during the balloon placement, and maintenance of weight once the balloon is removed.

Which types of balloon are available?

There are a number of different intra-gastric balloons available worldwide, however in Australia, only three kinds are currently available:

The BMI Clinic is the only practice to offer all types of balloon which are currently approved for use in Australia and we have summarised the features of each in the table below.

Gastric Balloon Programs & Pricing