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Non-Surgical Weight Loss Option: Intragastric Balloon

The intragastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure where a saline-filled balloon is placed temporarily in the stomach.

Non-Surgical Option

MUSC Health offers a non-surgical approach to weight loss, proven to help people achieve and maintain significant weight loss. It is completely different from any diet, program, or procedure you may have tried or considered before. The intragastric balloon procedure was specifically designed for patients with a lower body mass index (BMI) (between 30 kg/m2 to 40 kg/m2). Intragastric balloon placement may be a good weight loss option for people who do not qualify or do not want weight loss surgery.

MUSC Health will use an intragastric balloon with a single balloon filled with saline (salt water) placed temporarily inside your stomach in an outpatient medical setting. The procedure lasts about 20 minutes while you are comfortably sedated under light anesthesia. An endoscope is used to insert the balloons into the stomach, and saline is used to inflate the balloon. Once the balloon is inflated, the endoscope is removed and the insertion procedure is complete. The balloon remains in the stomach for six months.

When filled with saline, the balloon helps you lose weight and encourage healthy eating habits by taking up room in your stomach, so there is less space for food. You can still eat the healthy foods you enjoy, but the balloon acts as built-in portion control, helping you feel full and less hungry.

After six months, the balloon is deflated and removed during a similar endoscopic procedure.

Balloon Technology

Placement of the saline-filled balloon inside your stomach for six months takes up room in your stomach, which creates a feeling of fullness and may help you feel satisfied with less food. 

The balloon placement is completed endoscopically, without surgery, in an outpatient setting. There are no incisions, scars, or permanent changes to your digestive system. The procedure is completely reversible, and patients are often able to return to work and normal activities in just a few days.

The balloon is a weight loss jump-start. Many patients experience rapid weight loss initially, providing the motivation required to keep going and make the changes stick. You also receive a full year of personalized coaching from our registered dietitian to support your success and help you make the changes that will encourage a lifetime of healthy living.

One Year of Comprehensive Coaching & Support

Like our weight loss surgery program, the non-surgical intragastric balloon system combines the portion-controlling benefits of the balloon with comprehensive coaching to change your eating habits, enhance your physical fitness, and help you adopt a healthy lifestyle that supports long-term success. While the balloon is inside your stomach, you will meet (monthly) with your team, and receive personalized nutrition, fitness, and behavior guidance to help maximize your success. After the balloon is removed, you will continue to meet with your dietitian to make sure that you maintain your healthy lifestyle to reach your goals. With ongoing coaching support, most patients maintain their weight loss or continue to lose weight.

Life-Changing Weight Loss

Intragastric balloon placement is a proven way to achieve significant weight loss. In a recent study, patients lost 3 times as much weight with the intragastric balloon than with diet and exercise alone. Most patients keep the weight off or continue to lose, even after the balloon is removed.

If you do not want or do not qualify for surgery, the intragastric balloon procedure may be a good option for you.

Qualifying & Next Steps

If you are an adult with a BMI between 30 to 40 kg/m2 and are willing to participate in the comprehensive coaching and support program, and are able to self-pay for the procedure, please call MUSC’s Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at 843-876-7211.