Laparoscopic Intragastric Balloon Insertion

“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”

Morbid obesity or clinically severe obesity has emerged as one of the most dreaded diseases of this century. People who have attempted to lose weight, know how difficult it is to not only lose weight but also to maintain the weight loss. On a daily basis, we see patients who put in their heart and soul into their efforts to lose weight. They have been to every weight loss clinic, celebrity dieticians, gyms, yoga gurus and weight loss retreats. Unfortunately, more often than not, they meet with disappointment and tend to yo-yo between weight loss and weight gain. This entire process is extremely disheartening and demotivating.

So, if you have tried hard to lose weight without success and the resistant weight is bearing you down, you have come to the right place because intra-gastric balloon is a good way at the moment that can lead to significant weight loss.

Laparoscopic Intragastric Balloon Insertion

Laparoscopic intra-gastric balloon insertion is a weight loss aid for adults suffering from obesity.

It is useful for patients who have tried other weight loss programs like diet, exercise, behaviour modification etc but have failed to lose weight. It is also useful for patients who are super-super obese and are high risk for anesthesia. In such patients, a balloon can be inserted as a first stage to make the patient lose some degree of weight and make them fit for subsequent surgery.

It can also be used as a weight loss aid in patients who are very high risk and medically unfit for surgery.

Am I a right candidate for undergoing intragastric balloon insertion

The IFSO- APC (International Federation for Surgery for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders - Asia Pacific Chapter) guidelines for weight loss surgery are as under:

  • Bariatric surgery/obesity surgery/weight loss surgery must be considered for the treatment of obesity for acceptable Asian candidates with BMI ≥ 35 Kg/m2 with or without any associated diseases.
  • Bariatric surgery/metabolic surgery must be considered for the treatment of type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome for patients who are inadequately controlled by lifestyle alterations and medical treatment for acceptable Asian candidates with BMI ≥ 30 Kg/m2.
  • Bariatric surgery/metabolic surgery may also be considered as a non-primary alternative to treat inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome for suitable Asian candidates with BMI ≥ 27.5 Kg/m2.

How is it done

  • Intra-gastric balloon insertion is performed as an out-patient procedure in the endoscopy department.
  • This procedure is performed under mild anesthesia. First, an upper GI endoscopy is performed and the stomach and food-pipe are inspected for any abnormalities such as ulcers etc.
  • The balloon is then inserted and inflated with fluid.

How does it lead to weight-loss

Following mechanisms lead to weight loss after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.

  • Intra-gastric balloon insertion is primarily a restrictive procedure. The balloon occupies space in the stomach and limits food intake. It also causes early satiety. Patients feel full despite eating smaller quantities of food.
  • Intra-gastric balloon can be kept in situ for a period of 6 months to a year depending on the type of balloon used.
  • Some balloons also have the facility for subsequent adjustment as per the weight loss.

Results of intra-gastric balloon insertion

  • Patients lose significant weight after this procedure. Results are better if the patient embraces lifestyle modification and follows a strict diet and exercise program as guided by the bariatric surgery team.
  • This procedure also leads to a significant improvement in associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, risk of heart disease, risk of venous thrombo-embolism, gout and so on.

Long term weight loss goals

  • Bariatric procedures must not be perceived as a short cut to weight loss. The patient and the doctor work as a team to achieve best results in the long term. It is extremely important to be diligent with your follow-up to get optimum results.
  • Long term weight loss goals can be achieved with help of a team that consists of a doctor, an endocrinologist, a nutritionist and a psychologist. This support team of experts will keep you motivated, provide advice and help you to work through weight-loss barriers. 

Who is not eligible for weight loss surgery

  • Pregnant women
  • Patient with acid reflux disease and hiatus hernia
  • Patient with gastric outlet obstruction
  • Patients with severe psychiatric disorders
  • Smokers


  • This is a reversible procedure and there is a tendency to gain weight once the balloon is removed.
  • It is important to follow the protocols set by the team and to take nutritional supplements as advised. Failure to do so may result into nutritional deficiencies in future.
  • Smokers must strictly stop smoking. Smoking can lead to complications that can be life-threatening. If you are not confident about giving up smoking after this surgery, our advice is that you must not undergo the surgery at all.
  • Rarely the balloon may leak inside your stomach and in that case you will start passing blue colored urine. In such a situation you must visit your doctor immediately and schedule a balloon removal.
  • The team will discuss the pros and cons in detail with you during your consultation.

Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker has been practicing bariatric surgery for over a decade now and has a significant experience with intra-gastric balloon insertion. The biggest plus of coming to us for your procedure is our personalized care. Every patient is a VIP for us and we assure you that your smallest queries will be addressed at the earliest.

It is extremely important for the patient to be mentally prepared and be in a positive frame of mind before undergoing any kind of surgery. Positive thoughts go a long way in getting good results after surgery. So, be positive and we wish you all the best for your weight-loss journey to a being a different you.

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