Bariatric Procedures

Intragastric Balloon

There are many ways to prevent obesity, especially a balanced diet and regular activity, and also methods of treating it. Weight loss routines are obviously among the latter. The Intragastric Balloon method is one such and is becoming a popular choice for obese persons looking to lose weight. It is also known as the Weight Loss Balloon and is a non-invasive approach to losing weight. The gastric balloon cost in South Africa is significantly lower than that for other invasive or surgical options for weight loss. Following we will talk about why this method is used, who are the likely candidates, and what to expect before, during and after the procedure.


The intragastric balloon routine involves a non-surgical procedure which we will discuss in another section. Put simply, a saline-filled silicone balloon is placed in the stomach. As this occupies space, the patient is unable to eat too much, and feels fuller sooner. The purpose is to help the patient lose weight by limiting their food intake.


The aim is to reduce the risk of the conditions that obesity is associated with as mentioned above. It also reduces risk of stroke, of liver diseases and a number of other conditions known to be caused by obesity. The intragastric balloon is not a solution for every obese person, so let’s talk about the candidates for this routine.

Candidates for the Gastric Balloon

To be a candidate, the patient

  • Must have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of between 30 and 40.
  • Has not undergone prior stomach or oesophageal surgery.
  • Is willing to commit to a change in habits and lifestyle involving healthy eating and exercise;
  • Will undergo future medical check-ups.

How long will I be in hospital?

As the intragastric balloon procedure is non-surgical – in that it requires the patient to be sedated but there is no incision – the patient is normally home the same day, being discharged no more than a couple of hours after the balloon is inserted. Should there be any concerns or complications the patient may be kept in overnight.

Diet After the Weight Loss Balloon

Following the procedure, the patient may only ingest liquids (initially clear) in the first week and up to the start of the second. This may begin around 6 hours after the intragastric balloon has been inserted. Soft foods can be eaten from the middle of the second week, with most patients back to eating regular food after three weeks.

Intragastric Balloon Removal

A balloon lasts around 6-12 months (depending on balloon chosen) after which it will be removed using the endoscope in a similar manner to that in which it was inserted. This will also require the patient to be sedated and takes around half an hour. Depending on the patient and doctor’s agreement and plan, a new balloon may be inserted at this point.

Weight Loss Balloon Procedure

The intragastric balloon procedure is usually carried out in the endoscopy department. The patient is sedated. The procedure itself is relatively simple.


The Bariatric Surgeon will insert a catheter – a thin tube – down the throat and into the stomach. The catheter holds the intragastric balloon. The doctor then uses an endoscope – a thin tube that holds a tiny camera – in the stomach to watch as they fill the balloon with saline. Once done, the procedure is over.


The entire routine is completed in around half an hour and is an out-patient procedure.

Weight Loss Balloon Insertion Video

Following the intragastric balloon procedure the patient will be required to change their eating and lifestyle habits. If the instructions given by the doctor are not followed, the procedure will not achieve its aim.

Types of Balloons

Orbera Intragastric Balloon


6-month Balloon

Orbera365 Intragastric Balloon


12-month Balloon

Spatz3 Adjustable Balloon

Spatz3 Adjustable Balloon

6-12 month Adjustable Balloon

The Adjustable Balloon

Obesity Unit South Africa