The possibilities for surgical weight loss have literally ballooned over the past few decades. Compared to gastric banding, gastric sleeves or gastric bypass surgeries, the gastric balloon is a less invasive procedure promising similar results. But does it live up to the hype? Here are some factors to consider when considering your options.

How the gastric balloon works

The gastric balloon, sometimes called an intragastric balloon, is a silicone medical device placed in the stomach and filled with saline. By taking up space in the stomach, the gastric balloon helps patients feel full with smaller portions. The effect is like other types of weight loss procedures, which either surgically reduce the stomach size (gastric sleeve) or restrict its volume by wrapping a band around it (gastric banding).

Two companies produce FDA-approved gastric balloons available in the United States. It takes about 30 minutes for a