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Intragastric Balloon FAQs

  • What Unpleasant Effects Are Possible with the Intragastic Balloon System ?

    It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach will cause nausea or vomiting for a few days after placement. Your physician can prescribe medication to alleviate these potential effects. There exists the possibility that you will lose only a small amount of weight or lose no weight at all while using the balloon. Of course, as stated earlier, your commitment to dietary and behavioral changes is a pivotal factor in the outcome.

    There is also the chance that unhealthy, uncontrolled weight loss will occur and create adverse health consequences. Be sure to speak with your physician about this.

  • Will I Regain My Weight after the Intragastic Balloon is removed ?

    Because the balloon in the stomach creates a feeling of fullness, it acts as an aid to weight reduction and may help you to adhere to a prescribed diet. You will have a much greater chance of maintaining your weight loss after balloon removal if you maintain and improve the diet and behavior changes you made while using the balloon.

  • How Much Weight Will I Lose with the Intragastic Balloon System ?

    It is important for you to understand that the Intragastric Balloon System is an aid to weight loss and must be used in conjunction with a prescribed diet and behavior modification program. Therefore, the amount of weight you lose will depend on how closely you follow your diet. How long you maintain weight loss will depend on how completely you adopt long-term lifestyle changes involving eating behavior and exercise.

  • What Happens if the Intragastic Balloon deflates spontaneously ?

    If the balloon deflates before a scheduled removal you may or may not be aware that it has occurred. Your physician may place a colored dye inside the balloon in order to help you clearly identify early deflation by a change in the color of your urine.

    The balloon is small enough that it may pass through the intestines and leave the body naturally, but there have been some cases in which it has had to be removed from the bowel surgically. If you suspect a deflation, you must notify your physician immediately.

  • Who Can Use the Intragastic Balloon System ?

    The Intragastic Balloon System is designed to assist with weight loss in people who are at least 40% above their ideal weight (as defined by the Metropolitan Life Insurance 1983 Weight and Frame tables) and who have failed to obtain prolonged weight loss with other weight control programs.

    The Intragastic Balloon System may be particularly useful for people considered too overweight or at increased risk for vital surgery. The use of the Intragastic Balloon System to successfully reduce weight prior to surgery may help reduce the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.

  • How Is the intragastic balloon ® System Balloon Placed in the Stomach ?

    The balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth without the need for surgery. The physician conducts an initial examination of the stomach using an endoscopic camera. If no abnormalities are observed, the physician proceeds with placement of the balloon through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. The balloon is made of a soft and pliable silicone elastomer material and is inserted while in its smallest, deflated form. The swallowing process is made easier with the help of anesthetics applied topically to numb the throat area. Muscle relaxing medications are also used.

    Once the balloon is inside the stomach, it is immediately filled with sterile saline through a small filling tube (catheter) attached to the balloon. Once filled, the doctor removes the catheter by gently pulling on the external end. The balloon has a self-sealing valve, and at this point the balloon is floating freely in the stomach. Placement times vary but it will usually take 20-30 minutes, after which you will be monitored by the physician for a short time and then may return home.

  • How Does the intragastic balloon ® System Work ?

    The intragastic balloon ® System is designed to make compliance with a supervised diet and behavior modification program easier. The balloon partially fills the stomach and patients report that they have a feeling of fullness.


  • Must I participate in the follow-up visits to be successful ?

    The intragastic balloon is not a magic pill, but a tool to change your lifestyle. Taking part in the program will give you the education and support to change your lifestyle habits and have a better chance for long-term success.

  • How is the intragastic balloon removed ?

    The intragastic balloon is removed through the mouth in the same manner it was inserted. The 20-minute procedure is performed under sedation.

  • Can I eat anything I want? Are there any food restrictions ?

    You will not feel like eating as much as you used to. In addition, if you eat fatty foods or sweets, you may feel sick. Excessive overeating while the intragastic balloon is in place can be dangerous and can result in a serious medical condition.

  • Can I drink alcohol ?

    Alcohol in moderation is fine.

  • What happens if the intragastic balloon leaks ?

    If the intragastic balloon leaks, you will notice a change in your urine color (it will be greenish). Although very uncommon, this can be a serious situation. If you notice a change in urine color, you must call your doctor immediately. If the intragastic balloon deflates, it will likely pass through your body naturally, but in some cases it may need to be removed by your doctor

  • Does the intragastic balloon limit activity ?

    The first week you should not plan any heavy activity. Once your body has adjusted to the intragastic balloon , you can continue your normal activities. Starting a regular exercise program is highly recommended and will improve your success.

  • Does the intragastic balloon require frequent visits to my doctor after the procedure ?

    The follow-up program is critical to success with the intragastic balloon and in learning new lifestyle skills. You will meet with your physician and support team at least monthly while the intragastic balloon is in place. During this time your progress will be evaluated and you will learn valuable principles of health, nutrition, and exercise that will provide you a foundation for long-term success.

  • How long will it take to recover after the procedure ?

    You should plan at least three days of inactivity to recover from the procedure. You will be able to resume normal activity sooner or later than this depending on how quickly your body adjusts to the intragastic balloon .