The Main Differences Between the Gastric Balloon and Sleeve

Ask your doctor about the difference between a gastric sleeve and a gastric balloon.

You may have tried every diet known to man but haven’t been able to shed a significant amount of excess weight. If you’ve been a binge eater, your stomach can hold more than a person who doesn’t binge eat.

Your doctor is on your case, and now you’re ready to take action to get your weight under control. You’re tired of huffing and puffing just walking to your car. Losing that 50 pounds is going to feel like shedding a 50-pound backpack. What a relief. You can’t wait.

You may be trying to decide between two weight loss procedures: a gastric sleeve surgery versus a gastric balloon. Both help you lose excess weight. Which is the right one for you? The following describes the major differences between the two.

Surgery vs. in-office procedure

When choosing the procedure that is right for you, take into consideration the downtime and type of procedure required. Bariatric surgery (or weight loss surgery) is performed by our team of well-trained professionals in order to provide you with optimal results. However, for some patients, a simpler in-office procedure may be an effective solution.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The gastric sleeve is a surgical procedure. Georgia SurgiCare physicians reduce the size of your stomach by removing some of it. Gastric sleeve surgery is minimally-invasive and is done either via laparoscopy or endoscopy.

The laparoscopy involves a few very small cuts in the stomach area to resize the organ. The endoscopy sutures the stomach into the shape of a small tube. Both procedures make you feel fuller much sooner, so you don’t eat as much.

The most common weight loss surgery in the U.S. is now the gastric sleeve. The surgery has been proven effective, efficient, and safe in a very short timeframe.

In 2010, only 9% of people having weight loss surgery had this procedure. By 2013, 49% of patients having bariatric surgery had the gastric sleeve, and the percentage continues to increase.

Gastric Balloon: Noninvasive in Office Procedure

Another weight loss option is the gastric balloon, a noninvasive office procedure. It involves having you swallow a capsule containing a tiny silicone balloon. Once it reaches your stomach, your physician inflates it with saline. It stays in your stomach up to six months while you’re undergoing weight loss treatment.

Permanent vs. temporary

Gastric sleeve surgery is forever. During the gastric sleeve procedure, part of your stomach is taken out permanently, leaving you with a much smaller stomach capacity. No more binge eating!

The gastric balloon is taken out of your stomach through a minor endoscopic procedure within six months; it’s not permanent. The idea is that you’ve learned portion control during that time. You’ve changed your eating habits; you feel full sooner, so that you’re not eating a lot of unhealthy foods that lead to obesity.

Do you believe you can continue your new habits once the balloon is removed? If so, maybe it’s the answer for you.

Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery Vs. Gastric Balloon

Since the gastric balloon is not a surgical procedure, it costs less than the gastric sleeve surgery. However, many insurance companies now provide some coverage for these weight loss procedures, realizing that it should improve your health and cut future costs.

Health status

Your physicians at Georgia SurgiCare review your health and discuss all your weight loss options with you. If you have a condition such as Type 2 diabetes, your physician may recommend a bariatric procedure other than a balloon or the sleeve.

If you’re ready to make a change in your life and improve your overall health, contact Georgia SurgiCare today. We have offices in Atlanta, Loganville, and Monroe, Georgia for your convenience.

Georgia SurgiCare has multiple locations in GA:

Atlanta, Loganville, and Monroe. Contact one of our offices today to schedule an appointment or book it online.


  1. Mayo Clinic: Intragastric Balloon
  2. Obera: Learn About Obera
  3. Obalon: Learn About Obalon
  4. Allure: My Obalon Story
  5. WebMD: What Is Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery?


About The Author:

Dr “Chris” Ibikunle

Clinical Professor of Surgery, Augusta University and University of Georgia
Fellow, American College of Surgeons
Member, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

Dr Chris is the CEO of Georgia SurgiCare and its subsidiaries, the premier Same Day Surgery center in Georgia. He is an Augusta University Professor of Surgery who specializes in all aspects of General and Bariatric Surgery, including acid reflux, weight loss, gallbladder, hernia repair and cancer care.

He is a leader in his field and at the forefront of technology, committed to providing high-quality, personalized and compassionate care to patients every day. Furthermore,Dr Chris has received numerous prestigious awards and distinctions such as Best of Gwinnett, SBDC Business Development, and Innovation Award.

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