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Gastric Balloon Specialist

Northwest EndoSurgical

Matthew St. Laurent, MD

Bariatric Surgeon located in Cypress, Houston, TX

If you’re looking for a safe, effective, and minimally-invasive way to gain control over your appetite and lose weight, the intragastric balloon may be just the solution you’re looking for. When it’s expanded inside your stomach, this medical-grade balloon helps reduce cravings and leaves you feeling fuller after eating smaller meals and fewer calories. Board-certified surgeon Dr. Matthew St. Laurent at Northwest EndoSurgical in Cypress, Houston, Texas is one of the first weight-loss experts to offer the gastric balloon to patients in the Houston area. Call or book your appointment online today.

Gastric Balloon Q & A

How does the intragastric balloon work?



Dr. St. Laurent inserts the intragastric balloon, or gastric balloon, into your stomach via your mouth and esophagus. Once the balloon is in place, he fills it with a saline solution so it will occupy a significant portion of your stomach cavity.

This reduces the volume of food that you can consume, which in turn helps diminish your cravings and leaves you feeling satiated by smaller quantities of food and fewer calories.

How is the intragastric balloon procedure performed?

The intragastric balloon is one of the quickest and least invasive bariatric procedures, requiring no incisions and minimal time spent in the hospital.

The procedure begins with Dr. St. Laurent passing an endoscopic camera, also known as a gastroscope, through your mouth, down your esophagus, and into your stomach.

He checks for abnormalities during the first insertion, and if he doesn’t find any, he inserts the scope a second time to position the balloon inside your stomach cavity.

Once inside, the balloon is filled with a sterile saline solution through a small tube. After checking for the proper positioning and inflation, Dr. St. Laurent removes the tube from your body.



The entire procedure is performed under sedation and takes about 20 minutes. You won’t have to stay in the hospital overnight, but you will be required to stay for a few hours following the procedure for routine monitoring.

Dr. St. Laurent uses two different types of gastric balloon systems: The ReShape™ Balloon System, and the Obalon Balloon System.

Am I a good candidate for the intragastric balloon?

The FDA has approved gastric balloons for patients with a BMI between 30 and 40, and it’s most suitable for patients who need to lose no more than 40% of excess body weight.

In some instances, the procedure can be performed for patients with a BMI greater than 40 to help minimize the risks associated with a later, more invasive bariatric surgery.

How long does the intragastric balloon remain in place?

The gastric balloon is approved for a six-month period, at which point it must be removed. If Dr. St. Laurent recommends a longer period of use, you must undergo an additional procedure to replace the first balloon with a new one.

What happens if the balloon deflates spontaneously?

The saline solution contains an indicator dye called methylene blue, which acts as a safety mechanism should the balloon deflate or leak. If your balloon deflates, your urine will turn green, at which point you should immediately contact Dr. St. Laurent to have the balloon removed.

How is the intragastric balloon removed?

The balloon is removed in the same manner that it was endoscopically inserted through your mouth. Dr. St. Laurent passes a catheter through your mouth, down your esophagus, and into your stomach, and then he punctures the balloon to deflate it. He then pulls the deflated balloon back out of your stomach cavity and through your mouth.

How much weight can I lose with the intragastric balloon?

Weight loss varies from patient to patient, but optimal results are achieved in tandem with a closely followed diet and exercise plan.

Will I be able to feel the balloon in my stomach?

Slight discomfort is typical for most patients the first few days following the procedure, but a feeling of fullness is the only one that should remain afterward.

How long will it take to recover after the procedure?

Normal activity is usually limited for three days following the procedure, and some patients may take slightly longer to adjust to the balloon than others.

Does the balloon require frequent post-procedure appointments?

Follow-up with a pre-assigned lifestyle team is critical to the success of the procedure and your long-term results. Patients typically meet with the team once a month for the six-month period the balloon is in place, and then bimonthly for the following six months.

The lifestyle team will monitor and assess your progress and provide valuable health, nutrition, and exercise advice to ensure that you make long-term lifestyle changes and maintain your weight loss after the balloon is removed.

Will the intragastric balloon limit my activities?

Strenuous activity is prohibited for the first week following your procedure. Normal activities can be resumed once your body fully adjusts to the balloon. It’s recommended that patients stick with a regular exercise plan to enhance their weight loss results.

Are there any food or alcohol restrictions?

There are no limits on the types of foods you can consume. Indulging in large quantities of foods with high fat or sugar content, however, may cause you to feel ill.

Although you’ll naturally want less food, it’s important to consume significantly smaller portions because overeating while the balloon is in place has proven to be dangerous.

Alcohol consumption is fine in small amounts.

What does intragastric balloon surgery cost?

Costs vary from patient to patient as several factors influence the price of the surgery. Meeting with Dr. St. Laurent is the best way to determine the overall cost for your individual procedure. Financing is an option.

If you live in The Woodlands and Houston area and are interested in learning more about the gastric balloon, call 281-810-7895 or book your appointment online today.


*Individual results may vary