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Should I Get a Balloon Or Surgery?

Written By: Emma Squillace

It doesn’t take more than a few weeks past New Year’s for many people to become disheartened at their weight loss resolution efforts. If you’ve tried, and feel like you’ve failed, to lose weight through dieting, do not let this make you feel that there’s no hope. Losing weight – as easy as it sounds – is incredibly difficult. It’s hard to lose just 15 pounds, not to mention the struggles involved in losing 50 lbs, 100 lbs, or even more. People who have yoyo’ed up and down in their weight, or who have carried more weight than they want for decades, are facing many obstacles when they try to break that cycle. Your body will work against you to hold on to the fat you’ve accumulated. If you feel like one more diet has not worked for you and you’re not sure what’s next, you may want to learn about bariatric surgery or a gastric balloon.  Neither weight loss surgery nor a balloon is a ‘magic bullet’ that can make you lose weight, but both are incredible tools for allowing your hard work to pay off.

But should you have a non-surgical balloon or choose weight loss surgery? It’s really a personal decision that needs to be made on a case-by-case basis, but here are some tips:


BMI is a measure that insurance and other companies use to help determine whether you are eligible for bariatric surgery. While BMI has some flaws, it is currently the standard measurement of obesity so it helps to know what yours is. Your BMI is basically a ratio of your weight to height, and you can calculate yours on our BMI page here. Is your BMI between 30 and 40? If so, you may be best with a balloon. The gastric balloons are approved for adults with BMIs between 30 and 40. Is your BMI over 40? If so, this may indicate that surgery is a better choice for you. Since every situation is different, please speak to us about your particular story, for personalized advice.

How much weight do you want to lose?

Either a gastric balloon or a surgical procedure can be the turning point in someone’s life. The procedure day can be the start of new way of eating, of thinking about weight, and of working towards success. Even though all our options lead to weight loss success for many people, the bariatric surgeries we provide will generally result in more weight loss than a gastric balloon. For instance, if someone has 40 pounds to lose, they are more likely to be a balloon candidate. If someone has 100 pounds to lose, surgery is likely their better option.

How do you feel about surgery?

Even though bariatric surgery is minimally invasive, very safe, and has been proven effective, some people are just not ready for a surgical option. If you are unable or unwilling to have surgery, a balloon may be a good option for you since our balloon patients tend to lose substantially more weight than people who just diet and exercise. Keep in mind that these operations are quick, and many patients go home the same day or spend 1 night in the hospital. If fears about surgery are keeping you from exploring all your options, please let us know and we can discuss any hesitations you have.

What is your insurance coverage like?

If you were to pay for your procedure out of pocket, surgery generally is more costly than a balloon. However, many people find that insurance will cover their bariatric surgery, making surgery the option with smaller out-of-pocket costs for lots of our patients. If you want help understanding your insurance coverage, give us a call.

At West Medical, we’ve helped thousands of people finally achieve their weight loss goals. We are here to support you and provide education and options. We’re happy to help you understand the paths to weight loss. Our supportive team can be reached at (855) 690-0565.

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