Gastric Balloon vs. Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric Balloon vs. Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In addition to the obvious benefits that come with losing a significant amount of weight such as alleviating many obesity-related conditions including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, joint pain issues, etc., Bariatric surgery benefits go a step further to include many definite psychological improvements.

This is why undergoing a psychological and physical assessment before any weight loss surgery is important to determine an individual’s mental and emotional preparedness for the procedure to prepare them in setting realistic expectations as well as keeping their weight loss goals in perspective. Minimally invasive surgical techniques have revolutionized many procedures that reduce Bariatric surgery risks as well as the emotional trauma that some patients go through after surgery.

Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon is a life-changing weight loss procedure that is carried out without the need for surgery. This procedure does not alter the stomach’s anatomy. Instead, it is a reversible procedure where a deflated silicone balloon is inserted through a patient’s throat to the stomach using an endoscope under sedation. Once the balloon reaches the stomach, it is filled with salt water not only to provide a feeling of fullness but also to limit the amount of food one can eat at a time. The balloon or capsule is designed with a valve that opens up after three months to release the water or saline solution, while the balloon is disposed of by the body as waste.

There are two types of FDA approved gastric balloons. The ORBERA Intragastric Balloon System, which is filled with saline water and then deflated and removed under mild sedation after six months. The reshape dual balloon system includes an anti-migration safety feature that prevents one of the balloons from passing into the intestines in the event of deflation. You are required to be on a liquid diet after the balloon is fitted, once your body has gotten used to the capsule you can proceed to a pureed diet and gradually to solid foods. To qualify for this procedure:

  • You must be over 18 with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-40
  • You must show that you have been unsuccessful in losing weight through dieting and exercise
  • You must undergo psychological, health and physical examination before your surgery
  • Because insurance companies do not cover this weight loss procedure, you must be financially ready to cover a 12month self-pay costs, which may include the cost of the capsule, endoscopies, medications, appointments with the physician, dietitian, psychotherapist, and fitness specialist

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Unlike the revisable gastric balloon procedure, this surgery is permanent where a surgeon uses a stapling device to remove about 60 – 80 % of the stomach. The goal of this procedure is to reduce the stomach’s ability to hold large amounts of food, and because it doesn’t alter the order or function of the digestive system completely, the proper absorption of nutrients takes place, and patients have a reduced risk of malnutrition or dumping syndrome.

By reducing the size of the stomach, Bariatric patients feel fuller for longer even after eating baby-sized meals and in the process the body stores less excess calories and begins to burn excess fat. You are likely to be considered a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery if you meet the following pre-operative requirements:

  • You are between the age of 18 – 65 with a BMI of 40+ or if you have a BMI of 35 with one obesity-related comorbidity health problem such as sleep apnea, hypertension, type II diabetes, joint pain, or asthma
  • You must prove that you are physically and psychologically equipped to handle the stress of surgery through passing a psychological and physical assessment
  • You must also provide documentation to show that you have been unsuccessful in losing weight through traditional weight loss method
  • You must adhere to a dietitian-approved pre-operative diet and exercise regimen
  • You must not drink or smoke