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Gastric Balloon or Gastric Sleeve?


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Obesity is a growing health concern around the world. Many people struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise alone. For some, bariatric surgery may be an option to help them achieve long-lasting weight loss. Two common bariatric procedures are the gastric balloon and gastric sleeve. But which one leads to better outcomes?

How Does a Gastric Balloon Work?

A Gastric balloon, also called an intragastric gastric balloon in Antalya, is a nonsurgical weight loss treatment. A deflated silicone balloon is inserted through the mouth and down into the stomach. Then it is filled with a saline solution to take up space in the stomach. This helps you feel fuller faster so you eat less food.

Benefits of gastric balloons include:

  • Noninvasive and reversible
  • Covered by some insurance plans
  • Helps promote portion control
  • Leads to 10-15% total body weight loss on average

However, there are some downsides:

  • Only meant for short-term use (typically 6 months).
  • Can cause nausea, vomiting, and cramps during the adjustment period
  • Doesn’t address hormonal factors related to obesity
  • Weight regain is common if lifestyle habits don’t change

What Is a Gastric Sleeve Procedure?

A gastric sleeve is a surgical weight loss procedure that reduces the size of your stomach by 70-80%. The surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach and shapes what remains into a narrow tube or “sleeve.” This smaller stomach cannot hold as much food.

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Benefits of gastric sleeve surgery include:

  • Permanent change to stomach size
  • 60-70% excess weight loss in first 1-2 years
  • Reduces hunger hormone ghrelin
  • Allows normal absorption of calories and nutrients
  • Covered by most insurance companies

Risks involve:

  • Permanent change requiring lifelong diet and nutrition adjustments
  • Higher risk surgery than a gastric balloon
  • This can lead to long-term vitamin deficiencies without supplements
  • Possibility of leakage along staple lines requiring additional surgery

Weighing Key Differences Between the Procedures

So when considering a gastric balloon vs a gastric sleeve, there are some key factors to consider:


  • Balloon: Temporary (approximately 6 months)
  • Sleeve: Permanent change


  • Balloon: Inserted nonsurgically through the mouth under light sedation
  • Sleeve: Major surgery on the stomach under general anesthesia

Weight Loss

  • Balloons: 10-15% total body weight loss on average
  • Sleeve: 60-70% excess body weight loss within 1-2 years

Side Effects

  • The balloon may cause cramping, nausea, vomiting
  • Sleeve risks major surgery complications like infections and leaks

Long-term Outlook

  • Balloon requires lifestyle changes to keep weight off long-term
  • Sleeve often leads to significant long-term weight loss success

Both procedures have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered carefully with your doctor. The right option depends on your health history, weight loss goals, risk tolerance for surgery, and ability to commit to permanent lifestyle changes. Talk to a bariatric specialist to determine which option may be more suitable.

Conclusion: Which Procedure Is Recommended More Often?

For those with a BMI over 40 (or over 35 with obesity-related conditions), the gastric sleeve tends to be the recommended procedure by bariatric specialists. It leads to greater, more consistent weight loss results. Studies show the average patient loses 60-70% of their excess weight in the first 1-2 years following surgery.

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However, the gastric balloon may be a better stepping stone for those not ready to commit to surgery. It can help patients lose some initial weight, and then make further lifestyle changes to manage their health long-term.

Talk to your doctor about your options. For patients with comorbidities and a high BMI, the gastric sleeve often provides the most effective and long-lasting results. But be prepared to make permanent diet and nutrition changes for success after any bariatric surgery.

FAQs About Gastric Balloon and Gastric Sleeve

What is the average cost difference between procedures?

A gastric balloon averages $7,000-$15,000 while the gastric sleeve averages $17,000-$35,000 in the U.S. Gastric sleeve is more expensive because it involves major surgery.

Which procedure has a shorter recovery time?

The gastric balloon has a much quicker recovery since it was placed without surgery. Gastric sleeve involves a 2-4 week recovery hospital stay plus 4-6 restricted activity weeks.

Can a gastric balloon be converted to a sleeve later?

Yes, it’s possible to have a balloon first to lose some weight then transition to a sleeve. However, some experts advise against multiple procedures when one surgery would produce better long-term success.

Which has a higher risk of complications?

The gastric sleeve has significantly higher rates of complications since it requires major surgery on the digestive tract. Risks include infections, blood clots, and stomach leaks.

Will insurance cover either of these procedures?

That depends on your health plan. Many insurers cover gastric sleeve based on strict BMI and comorbidity requirements. Gastric balloons have lower coverage rates but can qualify in some cases.

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Bellie Brown
Bellie Brown
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