COVID-19 updates, including vaccine information, for our patients and visitors Learn More


Intragastric Balloon System

Dr. Santiago Horgan discusses the benefits of the nonsurgical gastric balloon weight-loss procedure.

A gastric balloon is a temporary, nonsurgical procedure that has been shown to reduce 10 percent of total body weight. It involves placing a lightweight, gastric balloon in the stomach for up to six months to help produce a sense of fullness and reduce hunger.

At UC San Diego Health, we use a device called the Orbera® Balloon.

Are You a Candidate?

You may be a good candidate for the gastric balloon if you:

The device may not be recommended for people who have:

  • Any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • A hiatal hernia
  • A gastric mass
  • Liver failure
  • A bleeding disorder or severe clotting
  • Had bariatric or gastrointestinal surgery in the past
  • An esophageal motility disorder
  • A psychiatric illness

Understanding the Procedure

Watch to see how the ORBERA weight-los balloon works.

While the patient is under mild sedation, a thin, deflated balloon is placed in the stomach through the mouth. Once in place, the balloon is filled with a saline solution. The solution also contains a blue dye so that it can be easily detected in the urine in the event that the balloon breaks. The balloon can be filled with varying amounts of solution to match your body structure.

The balloon remains in your stomach for up to six months before being removed by your physician.


  • No incisions required
  • Temporary; balloon is only in stomach for six months or less
  • Outpatient procedure done under mild sedation; you return home the same day
  • Helps you exercise portion control by reducing hunger


  • You may experience nausea and vomiting in the first few days after placement
  • Abdominal discomfort

Insurance Coverage

  • Not covered by insurance at this time

After Balloon Removal: Weight Management Program

Sustainable, healthy habits are required for long-term weight loss following the removal of the balloon. After balloon removal it is recommended that you:

  • Meet with an expert who specializes in weight management
  • Limit daily calorie intake to 1,200 to 1,400 calories
  • Exercise at least five days per week

The weight management program at UC San Diego Health can help you meet your weight-loss goals. Partnered with Health Management Resources (HMR) — named #1 Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet by U.S. News & World Report for 2021 for the sixth year in a row — our programs are grounded in healthy lifestyle habits and behavioral health modification strategies that can help you retrain your appetite and keep the weight off. Learn how our nonsurgical weight-loss program can be effective for you.

Take the next step in your weight-loss journey.
Call us today at 858-657-8860.

BMI Calculator

Appointments & Referrals

BMI Clinic Location

La Jolla

Weight Loss Experts

A Center of Excellence

We are a fully Accredited Bariatric Center in the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN).