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Gastric Balloon Surgery

Maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits isn’t easy. Sometimes it can feel like a losing battle – no matter how hard you try. A gastric balloon is a temporary and nonsurgical bariatric treatment designed to jump-start your weight loss. It may help you lose weight three times faster than diet and exercise alone.

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, we offer two effective gastric balloon options. Then, our bariatric specialists work with you over the course of one year to help you adopt healthy habits that you can continue for the rest of your life.

Weight loss surgery: Attend a free information session

Are you ready to lose weight and improve your life? At one of our free information sessions, you can meet our weight loss specialists and learn more about bariatric surgery options. Find a session near you by calling (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677.

What is a gastric balloon?

A gastric balloon (also called an intragastric balloon) is a type of nonsurgical and temporary weight loss procedure. This procedure is best suited for people with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40 who seek significant weight loss without surgery.

During a short outpatient procedure, a physician places a gas- or water-filled balloon in your stomach for up to six months. A gastric balloon helps you lose weight by taking up room in the stomach so you can eat less while still feeling full.

After six months (when the balloon is removed), your body will be used to your new healthy eating and exercise habits. Your new habits can help you continue to lose or maintain your weight, as you see fit.

There are different types of gastric balloons. They work in a similar way (taking up space in your stomach). However, each is slightly different in makeup (the balloon itself) and the procedure involved.

We offer the:

  • ORBERA® gastric balloon
  • Obalon balloon system

ORBERA gastric balloon

During this outpatient procedure, a bariatric specialist will:

  1. Use a flexible instrument (endoscope) to guide the deflated balloon through your mouth
  2. Carefully place the ORBERA balloon in your stomach
  3. Inflate the balloon with saline

Once the procedure is completed, you can go home the same day. In the coming months, here’s what you can expect:

  • Immediately after the procedure: Our bariatric specialists will follow you closely over the next several months, guiding you in your efforts to adopt healthy eating habits.
  • Up to six months later: After six months or sooner (depending on your treatment plan), your doctor will remove the balloon during a second outpatient procedure. This procedure is similar to the balloon placement procedure.
  • For six more months: Once the balloon is removed, we will then work with you closely for another six months. We offer nutrition guidance as you adjust to your body’s new normal.

Obalon balloon system

For this gastric balloon procedure:

  1. You swallow a capsule containing the deflated balloon (which is attached to a tiny tube).
  2. Once the capsule has reached your stomach, your doctor inflates the balloon with gas through the tube attached to the balloon.
  3. When the balloon is filled, the tube then detaches from the balloon.
  4. Your physician carefully guides the tube out of your stomach through your mouth.
  5. You go home the same day.

We can place up to three balloons in you. Each balloon is placed two to three weeks apart. In the coming months, here’s what you can expect:

  • Immediately after the procedure: Our bariatric specialists will follow you closely over the next several months, helping you make healthy food choices.
  • Up to six months later: After six months or sooner (depending on your treatment plan), your doctor will remove the balloon during a second outpatient procedure. This procedure is similar to the balloon placement procedure.
  • For six more months: Once the balloon is removed, our specialists interact closely with you for another six months. We offer nutrition guidance as you adjust to your body’s new normal.

Gastric balloon weight loss surgery: Pros and cons

Each type of bariatric surgery offers its own benefits and drawbacks. We consider your overall health and circumstances before recommending which bariatric surgery procedures may offer you the best results. Often, you can choose the surgical approach that fits your preferences.

Gastric balloon advantages

Gastric balloon surgery offers several benefits. It:

  • Helps you lose up to three times the weight compared to diet and exercise alone
  • Is a nonsurgical solution, requiring a short outpatient procedure
  • Is not permanent

Gastric balloon disadvantages

The gastric balloon involves certain disadvantages. It:

  • Is not covered by most medical insurance plans
  • Can cause short-term side effects, including nausea or dehydration
  • Does not offer drastic weight loss as quickly as more invasive surgical solutions

A comprehensive gastric balloon program

When you choose AHN for surgery gastric balloon procedure, you can also expect:

  • Two types of gastric balloon procedures to choose from
  • Expertise from board-certified bariatric surgeons who have a long track record of successful outcomes
  • Wide-ranging support – from financial guidance to in-person support groups – that make your life easier before, during, and after this procedure
  • Team approach from providers – from psychologists to surgeons – who work together to address every aspect of your care
  • Convenience of multiple care locations that ensure you don’t have to travel far for a gastric balloon procedure or follow-up appointments

In addition to gastric balloon surgery, our bariatric specialists perform a range of weight loss procedures, including:

Contact us

Request an appointment with one of our weight loss specialists. You can also find out more about our bariatric surgery services by calling (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677.

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