The Main Differences Between the Gastric Balloon and Sleeve

You may have tried every diet known to man but haven’t been able to shed a significant amount of excess weight. If you’ve been a binge eater, your stomach can hold more than a person who doesn’t binge eat.

Your doctor is on your case, and now you’re ready to take action to get your weight under control. You’re tired of huffing and puffing just walking to your car. Losing that 50 pounds is going to feel like shedding a 50-pound backpack. What a relief. You can’t wait.

You may be trying to decide between two weight loss procedures: a gastric sleeve vs a gastric balloon. Both help you lose excess weight. Which is the right one for you? The following describes the major differences between the two.


Surgery vs In-office Procedure

Choosing the procedure that will best help you lose weight and improve your health is best determined with the assistance of a weight loss expert who is trained in obesity management and the associated complications.

Together with your doctor, you should review the entire scope of the procedure or surgery you are considering. Some weight loss options are more invasive than others and involve pre-procedure requirements and extended downtimes. Knowing what to expect from start to finish from the procedure you are undergoing will help you be more prepared.

A gastric balloon is placed as an outpatient procedure and can be done right in your doctor’s office in less than 30 minutes. Gastric sleeve surgery has to be performed under general anesthesia in a hospital operating room or a surgical facility and takes roughly two hours to complete.

Gastric Balloon vs Gastric Sleeve Overview
Gastric Sleeve Gastric Balloon
Type of Procedure Surgical Non-surgical
Facility Required Hospital or operating room Outpatient procedure is done in-office
Anesthesia/Sedation General anesthesia Mild sedation
Does It Involve Incisions? Yes No
Procedure Length 2 hours 20 – 30 minutes
Is A Hospital Stay Required Yes 1-3 days No, patients return home on the same day
Procedure Longevity Permanent alterations to the patient’s stomach are made Temporary, the gastric balloon is removed after six months
Recovery 4 to 6 weeks 3 days to a week

What Is The Difference Between The Gastric Balloon vs Gastric Sleeve Procedure?

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve is the common name used for a form of bariatric surgery that is also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) or Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) This surgery is performed with the patient under general anesthesia in an operating facility.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes 4 to 5 small incisions in the patient’s abdomen so surgical tools can gain access to the procedure location. The laparoscope (surgical instrument with a light and a camera) is inserted into one of the incisions to guide the surgeon’s actions and then the patient’s stomach is reduced to approximately 25% of its original size.

This is done by cutting the excess stomach tissue away and permanently removing it. The surgeon then brings the edges of the new smaller stomach together and uses surgical staples to hold them in place. Most patients have to spend between 1 and 3 nights in the hospital before being discharged to go home.

Orbera Gastric Balloon Procedure

The gastric balloon weight loss option is significantly less invasive when comparing the gastric sleeve vs the balloon because it does not require surgery.

A deflated silicone balloon is placed into a patient’s stomach through an endoscopic procedure while the patient is mildly sedated. The balloon is then inflated with saline solution until it reaches the size of a grapefruit. This balloon takes up about ¾ of the stomach’s available capacity so the patient can not eat as much in one sitting. It also helps the patient to feel full in-between meals. The balloon remains in the stomach for six months while the patient follows a comprehensive weight loss program complete with professional support.

The procedure takes less than 30 minutes, is done as an outpatient procedure in the physician’s office, and patients return home on the same day.

Permanent vs Temporary

Permanent changes are made to the patient’s stomach during the surgical gastric sleeve vs gastric balloon which is only placed temporarily.

A portion of the patient’s stomach is permanently removed during gastric sleeve surgery and if patients follow proper eating habits after their surgery their smaller stomach will help them limit their portion sizes.

The gastric balloon is removed from the patient’s stomach after 6 months. The goal, while the balloon is present, is for patients to learn portion control, and healthy eating habits, and to make permanent lifestyle changes that will promote a healthy weight going forward.

Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery vs Gastric Balloon

The average base cost of gastric sleeve surgery in the United States is around $9,500. Surgeon’s fees, anesthesiologist fees, and other associated fees are not included in this base cost.

The cost of a gastric balloon procedure averages about $8,150 and since it does not require surgery it is less expensive than gastric sleeve surgery.

The final patient cost associated with gastric sleeve vs gastric balloon may be influenced by the use of insurance, FSA/HSA, etc. Gastric balloon procedures are typically self-pay as most insurance companies do not currently offer coverage; however, most bariatric practices offer patient financing.

Gastric Balloon vs Gastric Sleeve: Which Weight Loss Option Is Best For Me?

The experts at IBI Healthcare Institute will review your health and medical history and discuss all weight loss options with you. Together you will create a plan of patient care that will work best for your situation.

If you’re ready to make a change in your life and improve your overall health, contact IBI Healthcare Institute today to get started on your weight loss journey. We will be there every step of the way supporting you to success! Request a consultation today!