Noninvasive vs. Minimally-Invasive Bariatric Surgery
Losing weight is hard work. Many people struggle to meet their goals with diet and exercise
alone, leading to discouragement and frustration. Thankfully, there are a variety of safe surgical
options available to help you lose weight. Gastric sleeve surgery and the noninvasive gastric
balloon procedure help many people meet their weight loss goals. Let’s take a closer look at
both surgeries to see which is best for you.
Noninvasive vs. Minimally-invasive Surgery
The gastric sleeve procedure is a minimally-invasive surgery while the gastric balloon is
noninvasive. The gastric sleeve procedure is performed laparoscopically, requiring several small
incisions and permanently reducing the size of the stomach. The gastric balloon procedure
doesn’t require any cuts and temporarily reduces stomach capacity. Both options can help
people struggling to lose weight, but the qualifications are different for each.
The Gastric Sleeve Process
During the minimally-invasive gastric sleeve surgery, which is performed laparoscopically,
several small cuts are made and part of the stomach is removed. This procedure limits the
amount of food you can eat, helping you feel full faster. The hormone ghrelin is produced in the
stomach and is related to feelings of hunger. With a smaller stomach, ghrelin levels drop so you
often feel less hungry.
The gastric sleeve procedure permanently reduces the size of your stomach for continued
weight management. Following surgery, supplements may be necessary to meet nutritional
needs and some patients find they have new food sensitivities.
The Gastric Balloon Process
Gastric balloon, a noninvasive procedure, temporarily reduces the capacity of your stomach
through the use of balloons. During the ReShape balloon procedure, two balloons are gently
placed in the patient’s stomach through the mouth and then filled with a saline solution,
eliminating the need for surgical incisions.
The patient is under light sedation during the procedure, which usually takes only about 20
minutes. The balloons float freely in the stomach, but are too big to pass into the rest of the
digestive system. Six months later, the balloons are taken out in a similar way, while under light
sedation. The doctor extracts the fluid from the balloons, then removes the deflated balloons
through the mouth. It usually takes less than 30 minutes and patients can return home after a
brief period of observation.
This noninvasive, reversible procedure is low-risk and is a great way for patients to develop
healthy lifestyle patterns. There aren’t risks of complications due to cuts or any long-term
consequences since the balloon is removed after six months or earlier, if necessary.
Risks of the Procedures
Both gastric sleeve and gastric balloon are safe procedures that can help people to lose weight.
However, neither one is without risks. The cuts used in gastric sleeve are minimal but can still
occasionally cause complications, such as leaking, blood clots and infection. Gastric balloon
doesn’t have these risks because no cuts are required to complete the procedure, but it’s not
risk free either. Some patients may experience vomiting and pain following surgery.
The recovery time for both procedures is relatively short. Gastric sleeve patients are typically
able to resume normal activity within one to two weeks, making a full recovery within six
weeks. The gastric balloon requires even less downtime. After the procedure, patients usually
return home within a few hours.
It will take your body a little while to adjust to the presence of the balloons, and you may
experience mild dehydration. Six months later, the gastric balloon is removed, again with little
downtime. During recovery, Dr. Borland will meet with you one-on-one to check on your
progress and discuss any concerns you may have.
Which Option is Best for You?
If you’re considering a weight loss procedure, it’s best to meet with a surgeon to determine
which is best for you. Dr. Borland is a nationally recognized bariatric surgeon; during a
consultation, he will review your medical history, health and goals to ultimately recommend a
To qualify for gastric sleeve surgery, your BMI must be greater than 40 or 35 with at least one
obesity-related disease. Gastric balloon requires a BMI greater than 27, making it a good option
for people who don’t qualify for other weight loss surgeries. Both procedures require a
commitment to weight loss, and you must be healthy enough to undergo the surgery.
Long-Term Weight Loss Results
For people struggling to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, the gastric sleeve and gastric
balloon procedures offer an additional boost. Both can help patients succeed in long-term
weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. Gastric balloon is best for people wanting to
lose 20 to 40 pounds, while gastric sleeve can lead to more significant weight loss.
Dr. Borland stays in contact with you throughout the six months with the gastric balloons in
place. With both procedures, it’s also important to meet with a nutritionist to create a healthy
eating plan. Sticking with diet and exercise long term is key to success, especially with the
gastric balloon procedure. Once the balloon is removed, your stomach returns to its regular
Paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise, either of these options can help you to meet
your long-term weight loss goals. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Borland to determine if one
of these procedures is right for you.