An intragastric balloon (IGB) is a device made of soft silicon that is placed in the stomach through the mouth with an endoscopy and filled with about half a litre of liquid.

This intragastric implant can stay in the stomach up to 6-12 months depending on the model, after that a second endoscopy is required to deflate and retrieve the balloon.

This is the most common and widespread endoscopic procedure to facilitate weight loss combined with diet and exercise.

What is a IGB how does it work and what to expect?

An intragastric balloon is a temporary implant made of silicon that is placed in the stomach with a quick endoscopic procedure that takes about 15 minutes as a day case with some mild sedation.

Once in the stomach, the balloon is filled with about half litre of liquid and checked under direct endoscopic view.

The IGBs reduces the intragastric volume of about a third, reducing gastric motility and inducing satiety. After a predetermined period of time the balloon is removed with an endoscopy.

Following IGB placement, patients can experience accommodative symptoms like gastric distention, nausea, vomiting; these generally subside in a week. Medications like antiemetic or antispasmodic can help and control those symptoms in most cases and in absence of symptoms normal activities can be restarted in a couple of days. However, some patients might be less tolerant and experience prolonged gastrointestinal symptoms or anxiety requiring medical intervention or in some cases an early removal of the implant.

Expect a rapid weight loss in the first months of about 10-15% of the total body weight this can be combined with other metabolic benefits like improved glycaemic control, lipid and liver profile and reduced blood pressure. These can be maintained when combined with a healthy balanced diet and an appropriate physical exercise.

Who is this for?

An IGB could represent a good option for some patients, but it might not be ideal for all. For instance, it could be indicated to lose weight before a surgical intervention or following an injury requiring a long period of inactivity and rest. IGB is not indicated for patients who cannot attend the second endoscopy for balloon removal like a patient that intent to travel for a long period or a patient that plan a pregnancy in the following few months.

Patients with a BMI > 30 kg/m2 that are keen and willing to commit to timed medical follow-up and that can easily access medical are usually eligible, however, an initial assessment is needed to ensure absence of major anatomic abnormalities or diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract is required. A detailed medical history has to be taken to exclude other comorbidities that could negatively affect the outcome of the treatment.

Concordance to medical advice is very important for instance a medication like lansoprazole has to be taken while the balloon is in the stomach to reduce the risk of adverse events. As per all implants, a technical fail might occur and IGBs can in rare instance migrate into the intestine and cause an obstruction. An alarm system will stain the urine in case of balloon deflation and prompt immediate access to medical care.

Get In Touch

For any enquiries about conditions, tests or treatments, please feel free to call Dr Rehan Haidry’s medical secretary Debra Hyams on:

Tel: 0203 423 7609  |  Email: