Gastric Sleeve vs. Gastric Balloon

What is the difference between a gastric sleeve and a gastric balloon?

Gastric Sleeve Procedure

The gastric sleeve is the older, more traditional option for weight loss, and it is surgical. During the gastric sleeve procedure, around 80 percent of the stomach is completely removed.

The procedure is restrictive and meant for people who are struggling with weight loss. Not only does this process take away the physical room that the body has to hold food, but it also reduces the hormone (ghrelin) that causes the hunger sensation.

Gastric Balloon Procedure

The gastric balloon is a newer procedure that has only been approved by the FDA within the past few years. Before the gastric balloon was an option in the US, Canada and Europe were both using it. A gastric balloon is non-invasive.

Instead of removing a large amount of the stomach, the stomach is filled with a balloon. The balloon is full of silicon and saline and takes up space in the stomach, reducing the amount of food that it can hold and the level of hunger that the client experiences.

What kind of weight loss can I expect from a sleeve or a balloon?

Both the sleeve and the balloon are known to promote drastic weight loss over a six-month period. Both procedures are restrictive, meaning that there is less physical room for the stomach to take in food. This creates a “full” sensation more quickly.

Although both procedures are very effective, the gastric sleeve works to promote more overall weight loss without any extra work. However, the few people who are committed to a diet and exercise program can lose more weight within the same period – about 20 pounds more.

Am I a candidate for a sleeve or a balloon?

If you have a BMI that is over 40, then you are a candidate for a gastric sleeve. You may also qualify for a sleeve if you have a BMI over 35 along with a disease that is related to obesity. You must also commit to a certain level of weight loss on your own before a qualified medical professional will take you on.

The qualifications for a gastric balloon are slightly easier, although a patient must showcase the same commitment to weight loss as for a sleeve. A patient can qualify for a balloon with a BMI of 27 instead of 35.

Patients must also consider whether they are looking for a permanent or a temporary solution. The balloon is temporary and easily removed. The sleeve removes a large part of the stomach permanently, a procedure that may have emotional consequences as well as physical consequences.