Endoscopy or Balloon for Weight Loss?

Written By: Emma Squillace

At West Medical, we offer 2 different types of non-surgical weight loss procedure. While we still perform many gastric sleeves and gastric bypasses, some of our patients do not want surgery, or do not qualify for the sleeve or bypass surgical procedures. For these patients, we are thrilled to have two different bariatric procedures to choose from: the weight loss balloon and the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. Let’s look at these two non-surgical choices, and understand the similarities and differences.

Endoscopy Instead of Cutting

Both the gastric balloon and the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty are technically endoscopic procedures. That means that we perform both of these without making incisions. Instead, our surgeon places a tube down your throat, and all the work is done via that tube. In addition to having no incisions and no scars, patients like endoscopic procedures because they are less invasive than surgery.


Another similarity between the procedures is that both the weight loss balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty procedure can be done without general anesthesia. Although you will not be aware of what’s happening during either procedure, you will be more lightly sedated. This ensures you have a comfortable and peaceful procedure, and also that you are able to wake up more easily. Without the need for general anesthesia, patients who have the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and the weight loss balloon are almost always able to go home the same day. The recovery also tends to be shorter and easier, as compared to recovery from a surgical procedure.

Device vs. No Device

One important difference between the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and the balloon is that only one of them involves a device being implanted in your body. The gastric balloon is an FDA-approved, soft, flexible balloon that sits in your stomach and takes up room. It is filled with liquid or gas which allow it to take up a substantial amount of room in your stomach. As a result, patients report that they feel less hungry, are full after smaller meals, and go longer before they want to eat again.

With the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, patients report similar feelings of being less hungry and eating smaller portions. However, this is not because of a device that is in their stomachs. Instead, this procedure involves the stomach being stitched up to create a smaller stomach pouch. This procedure is sometimes called the “accordion” procedure, because the sides of your stomach look a little like an accordion after it’s been stitched up to have a smaller opening.

Permanent vs. Temporary

Another important difference between the procedures is that the weight loss balloon is designed to be a temporary procedure, lasting 6 months. Six months after we put the balloon in, we will remove it. The good habits you’ve learned during your time with the balloon, and your weight loss, can continue long after the device has been removed. With the endoscopic sleeve, there is no device to remove. This procedure is considered a permanent procedure. You’ll work on developing similar good habits as those with the balloon, including healthy food choices, moderate portions, and mindful eating.

Both the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and the weight loss balloon are excellent options for people who want to lose weight. If you have questions about either one of these procedures, we would be happy to speak to you. Our experts can help you understand if you are a candidate for either or both of our endoscopic procedures, or if surgery may be a choice for you as well. Please reach out to our expert weight loss team at (855) 690-0565.