The Advantages of Gastric Balloon vs Lap Band

Many people are seeking non-surgical solutions to address obesity and its associated health risks when diet and exercise alone have proven unsuccessful for them.

Historically, the only effective weight loss interventions available required invasive surgery, with the least invasive being gastric lap band surgery. Today, gastric lap band surgery is rarely performed, while endoscopic weight loss procedures that do not require surgery, such as the gastric balloon, are increasing in demand.

Today we are going to provide an overview of both procedures and discuss the advantages of using a gastric balloon vs a lap band for weight loss.

The Gastric Balloon vs Lap Band

The gastric balloon is a space-occupying therapy that uses a soft silicone balloon to fill the space in the stomach and create a sense of fullness. The balloon is placed inside the stomach endoscopically meaning no surgical incisions are required.

The laparoscopic gastric band surgery involves the placement of a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. This band is adjustable and can be tightened or loosened by adding or removing saline solution through a port connected to the band. The port is secured just beneath the skin on the abdomen.

Below is a detailed chart outlining some of the clear differences between the lap band and gastric balloon procedures.

Gastric Lap Band Gastric Balloon
Type Of Procedure
Surgical Non-invasive, non-surgical endoscopic
General anesthesia Mild sedation
How The Device Is Inserted
The lap band procedure is typically performed laparoscopically and involves several small incisions being made in the abdomen. The surgeon inserts specialized instruments through the incisions to install the band and secure it in place. The Orbera gastric balloon is inserted through the mouth and esophagus using an endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a camera and light at the tip. The endoscope is carefully advanced into the stomach while the doctor monitors the progress using the live feed video provided by the camera.

Once the stomach is reached, a deflated Orbera balloon is inserted through the endoscope, positioned into the stomach, and filled with a sterile saline solution through a filling tube attached to the balloon.

Device Adjustment
The band can be adjusted by adding or removing saline solution through the port, which is placed just beneath the skin during the initial surgery. The gastric balloon volume can be adjusted during the insertion procedure in a range of 400cc to a maximum of 700cc. The amount of saline solution used to inflate the balloon varies depending on the patient’s specific needs.
Procedure Length
The lap-band surgery usually takes 1-2 hours to perform. The entire procedure typically takes about 20–30 minutes.
How It Works For Weight Loss
The lap band works by restricting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The smaller upper pouch created by the band fills up quickly, giving the patient a feeling of fullness with smaller food portions. This helps to control the amount of food intake and promotes weight loss. The gastric balloon takes up space in the stomach, reducing its volume and triggering a sensation of fullness and satiety. It also slows down the rate at which food passes from the upper part of the stomach to the lower part and then to the small intestine, preventing overeating. Patients receive ongoing support and guidance from a healthcare team to maximize the benefits of the gastric balloon.
Weight Loss Potential
(outcomes lap band vs gastric balloon)
Lap-band surgery typically results in an average weight loss of 40% of excess weight over a period of two years. (If someone is 100 lbs. overweight, they would lose 40 lbs.) The outcome of the surgery can differ based on the degree of lifestyle modifications made, including a healthy diet and exercise. Studies have shown that patients who follow the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes while using the Orbera balloon can experience an average weight loss of around 10-15% of their initial body weight. For example, if someone weighs 200 pounds at the start of the treatment, they can expect to lose approximately 20-30 pounds.

It’s important to note that weight loss results are individual and can vary based on factors such as the patient’s initial weight, adherence to the recommended program, diet and exercise habits, and overall commitment to lifestyle changes. Some individuals may achieve even greater weight loss while others may experience more modest results.

Risk Factors
Lap band is a surgical procedure and has associated risks/complications including infection, band slippage or erosion, port problems, difficulty swallowing, acid reflux, or inadequate weight loss.

Some individuals with lap bands may experience issues related to the port that is located under their skin such as:

  • Discomfort or pain;
  • Port site infection;
  • Port displacement or flipping;
  • Port-related leaks or malfunctions.
A gastric balloon does not require surgery or incisions, so the risk factor is very low.

It is common to experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, discomfort, or acid reflux just after placement as your body adjusts to the balloon.

These symptoms may resolve spontaneously, or medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help ease discomfort as your stomach becomes accustomed to the balloon.

The risks of serious side effects or complications from the Orbera gastric balloon are less than one percent.

Length Of Treatment
A lap-band is meant to remain in place for many years and be adjusted as needed. A gastric balloon is only temporary and remains in the stomach for six months before being removed.

Advantages Of The Gastric Balloon vs Lap Band

How Does The ORBERA Balloon Promote Weight Loss? Ask Dr. Batash

Dr. Batash from the Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center explains the way the Orbera balloon helps patients lose weight.

According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, only 2,393 lap band surgeries were performed in the United States, while the gastric balloon market was worth over $12.5 million and is expected to grow incrementally over the next several years by at least 13%.

The reason for this growth is that gastric balloons have more to offer patients than lap band surgery. Some of the clear advantages include:

Non-surgical procedure
One of the significant advantage of a gastric balloon is that it is a non-surgical procedure and much less invasive than lap band surgery.
Reversible and Temporary
Another advantage of a gastric balloon vs lap band is that it is a temporary and reversible procedure. Gastric balloons are temporary, and they are typically left in place for a short time. If the desired weight loss is achieved or if the patient experiences discomfort, the balloon can be deflated and removed. In contrast, a lap band is a permanent implant that can be removed, but the procedure to remove it is more involved. The lap band must also be maintained as long as it is installed, requiring ongoing follow-up with the doctor. The reversibility of gastric balloon placement makes it an attractive option for individuals who are unsure about committing to permanent surgical interventions.
Lower Risk Profile
Due to its non-surgical nature, the gastric balloon procedure carries a lower risk profile compared to lap band surgery. The incidence of complications, such as infection or bleeding, is significantly reduced, making it a safer option for individuals seeking weight loss interventions. This lower risk profile also makes the gastric balloon suitable for patients who may not be ideal candidates for surgery due to underlying health conditions.
Shorter Recovery Time
The recovery period for lap band surgery vs a gastric balloon procedure is significantly longer. Patients may experience discomfort or pain at the incision sites, and there may be dietary restrictions and a longer transition to solid foods. It may take several weeks before normal activities can resume after lap band surgery, while most patients are back to their normal routines in about a week after a gastric balloon procedure.
Benefits for Lower BMI Patients
Gastric balloons are suitable for individuals with a lower BMI (typically between 30 and 40) who may not qualify for other surgical weight loss procedures like the lap band. It can be a useful option for those seeking modest weight loss who have failed to achieve it through diet and exercise alone. In contrast, lap bands are typically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher.
Lower Associated Costs
Generally, the cost of a gastric balloon procedure is lower compared to a lap band surgery. This can make it a more affordable option for individuals who want to pursue weight loss but have budget constraints.

Gastric Balloon Procedures Are Predicted To Increase In Popularity Over The Next 5 Years

When it comes to weight loss interventions, both gastric balloon and lap band surgery offer weight loss potential. However, the benefits of a gastric balloon, including its non-surgical nature, reversibility, lower risk profile, higher weight loss potential, etc., make it the best choice between the two.

Non-surgical endoscopic procedures such as the Orbera gastric balloon are gaining in popularity while lap band surgeries in the United States are seldom performed. This is occurring because individuals are looking for safe, effective, non-invasive forms of weight loss options versus having to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure.

Contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Solutions in NYC and let us help you create a customized plan that will address your needs and assist you in reaching your weight loss goals. We would welcome the opportunity to share information about the non-surgical weight loss options we offer, including the Orbera intragastric balloon.

Our team of professionals understands that successful, sustainable weight loss involves a comprehensive approach that includes healthy lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and regular exercise. You will not be on your own during your weight loss journey or beyond, and the dedicated professionals at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Solutions will work with you every step of the way. Set up an appointment today and find out more about losing weight effectively and safely.

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