Intra-gastric Balloon Diet & Procedure Instructions

obalon pillThe Obalon swallowable gastric balloon is unique in that treatment is gradual, and the balloons are filled with nitrogen gas which makes them float on top of the gastric contents.  These are the primary reasons that Obalon patients tend to have much less nausea and vomiting than patients receiving traditional saline-filled balloons.  Although symptoms are usually minimal, we highly recommend a pre-procedure medication regimen that will reduce symptoms even further.

It is recommended to start this regimen THE DAY BEFORE each scheduled balloon swallow:

  • Zofran (generic ondansetron) – 4mg tablets
    • Take one tablet every 6 hours.
    • Start the morning before each balloon swallow and continue until your appointment.
    • Continue for 24 hours after then use as needed.
  • Levbid (generic hyoscamine) – .375mg tablets:
    • Take one tablet every 12 hours by mouth with a sip of water.
    • Start the morning before each balloon swallow and continue until your appointment.
    • Continue for 24 hours after then use as needed.

These medications can be ePrescribed for you, so if you have not yet given us your pharmacy information please call us with the pharmacy name and full address (with zip code).

It is required to have liquids only on the day of the balloon swallow, with minimal intake for two hours immediately prior to the appointment to ensure that the stomach is fairly empty.

After the swallow you must do clear liquids only for the next 24 hours, pureed food for 24 hours after that, then you can transition to solids on the 3rd day.


Download a PDF with your post-balloon diet instructions here:


Obalon Gastric Balloon Diet 126.00 KB 78 downloads


ReShape Intragastric Balloon

Pre-op and Post-op Instructions

JourneyLite Physicians

Please watch this video and read the instructions to prepare for your ReShape gastric balloon!

IMPORTANT:  You will need a driver, you cannot drive yourself home from the procedure!

Procedure Details

First, an endoscopy is done to inspect the inside of your stomach.  This is done under sedation, so you won’t be awake!

Next, the deflated balloon is guided into your stomach, attached to a catheter with a guidewire.

The guidewire is removed, opening up the channel in the catheter so that saline can be injected.

The balloon is inflated with saline and the catheter is disconnected, leaving only the balloon behind.

Six months later, the another endoscopy is done, the balloon is punctured with a catheter and the saline is removed, followed by the balloon.

The FDA has approved the ORBERA™ and ReShape Duo intragastric balloon weight loss procedures in the United States.

The intragastric balloon is a new weight loss procedure which involves placing a soft, deflated, silicone balloon inside the patient’s stomach through the use of an endoscope. Placement of an intragastric balloon is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure takes only about 20-30 minutes and requires minimal recovery time. The intragastric balloon has been approved for use outside the US for many years.  Several hundred thousand of these devices have been placed world-wide.

Once the intragastric balloon is endoscopically inserted, the empty balloon is filled with sterile saline. The balloon takes up space in the patient’s stomach, limiting food intake and reducing feelings of hunger. The balloon remains in place for 6 months, during which time the patient should participate in a behavior modification program and a medically supervised diet. After 6 months, the balloon must be removed and requires another short endoscopic procedure.

Qualifications for the Intragastric Balloon Procedure

The Intragastric Balloon Procedure is ideally suited for patients who:

  • Have a BMI of 30-40 with or without a weight-related comorbidity
  • Have a BMI over 40 but not interested in surgery (off-label)
  • Have been unable to achieve their weight loss goals through diet and exercise.
  • Are uncomfortable with, or ineligible for, other types of weight loss surgery.
  • Are willing to participate in a medically supervised diet and behavior modification program.

Off-label means usage of the device outside the indications for which the FDA approved it.  This is allowed in the US as long as the patient is informed of the off-label use and desires to proceed.

Conditions that would prevent a patient from having the Intragastric Balloon Procedure include:

  • Previous weight loss surgery
  • Any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Potential upper gastrointestinal bleeding or other congenital anomalies
  • Large hiatal hernia or structural abnormality in the larynx or esophagus
  • Any condition that would hinder endoscopy
  • Unwillingness to participate in the supervised diet and behavior modification program
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Past or present psychological disorders
  • Regular use of blood thinners

The intragastric balloon is ideal for patients who are moderately overweight and want to begin with a less invasive weight loss procedure. Patients who are ready to start a healthy, new lifestyle that incorporates regular exercise and dietary modifications will benefit greatly from a managed weight loss program. Sustained weight loss is achievable with the assistance of our support team, and we are committed to your long-term weight loss success!

Initial Visit for Your Intragastric Balloon Procedure

Becoming a candidate for an intragastric balloon will be based on several factors:

  1. Your medical history
  2. Your weight loss goals
  3. Previous methods attempted to lose weight
  4. Your commitment to our team’s managed weight loss program
  5. Your comfort level with the intragastric balloon procedure

Prior to Your Procedure

You will need to be on Prilosec OTC 40mg (or the generic omeprazole) which should be once daily beginning 2 weeks prior to the procedure.  You should stay on this until your balloon is removed.  

The Day of Your Intragastric Balloon Procedure

Your procedure will be at JourneyLite of Cincinnati, 10475 Reading Road, Cincinnati OH 45241.  If you have any questions for the center, they can be reached at 513-259-2488.  Maps/directions can be found at  You will need to pre-register prior to your procedure on the site so please do that as soon as possible.

Before your intragastric balloon placement, you should be on a puree/soft solid diet for 48 hours before your procedure date, and should avoid all food and liquid for 12 hours prior, as you will be sedated during the procedure.  Typically this will mean nothing to eat or drink after midnight.  The puree/soft solid phase is to ensure that there is no solid food left in your stomach that might cause us to have to cancel your procedure.

The deflated balloon will be inserted into your stomach through the mouth, and then filled with a sterile saline. The procedure is generally uncomplicated and lasts 20-30 minutes. You will regain awareness quickly and be monitored until your doctor discharges you (usually a an hour or so). Someone will need to be available to drive you home. You will be given detailed instructions on your aftercare.

After Your Intragastric Balloon Procedure

After the placement of the intragastric balloon, almost ALL patients experience some gastric discomfort, nausea, and vomiting for the first week after the procedure.  

This is normal, as your digestive system is adjusting to the presence of the intragastric balloon. You will be given medications to help you manage these symptoms.  Please use these medications liberally for the first few days to minimize nausea issues.  Please call us if you feel like you are not able to control your symptoms, do not go to the ER unless you feel like there is a life-threatening condition.

Nausea and vomiting is to be expected, especially in the first week after surgery.  You will be provided the following medications:

  • Zofran (ondansetron):  
  • dissolve one tablet under tongue every 8 hours for nausea for 7 days
  • Levsin (hyoscamine):
  • dissolve one to two tablets under tongue every 4 hours as needed for spasm/cramping

There may be other medications prescribed as well.  If vomiting persists despite the use of these medications, please contact us for further instructions.

Gastric Balloon Diet

  • Days 1-3 – clear liquids
    • 100% fruit juice (apple, grape, cranberry)
    • Clear broth (chicken, beef, and vegetarian)
    • Sugar free popsicles
    • Sugar free gelatin
    • Water and/or ice chips
    • Crystal Light or Sugar Free Kool-Aid
    • Decaf Teas and Coffee
    • Fast Track Supplements (Dr. Curry’s products–fruit drinks, gelatin, protein bouillon, and hot beverages)
  • Avoid the following items days 1-3
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Sugary drinks (sweet teas)
    • Citrus juices (orange, grapefruit, pineapple) and tomato juices
    • Juice drinks (Hawaiian punch)

  • Days 4-7 – Full liquid/Puree
    • Protein Shakes (Premier shakes, Atkins, Low Carb Slim Fast
    • Yogurt (carbmaster, Fit and Lite Greek High Protein)
    • Milk (skim, 1%, skim milk, almond milk, soy milk) (all unsweetened)
    • V-8 juice, tomato juice
    • Scrambled eggs
    • Sugar free pudding
    • Cream Soup (strained) (cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of broccoli)
    • Fast Track Supplements (protein shakes and pudding, oatmeal, mash potatoes, scrambled eggs, tomato soup)
  • Avoid the following items days 4-7
    • Foods with chunks or large pieces
    • Sugar desserts (ice cream, regular pudding, cream pies)
    • Carbonated beverages

After seven days, you can transition to semi-solid foods. You gradually will transition to solid foods. The length of time for this transition depends on how your body is adjusting to the process. Don’t rush!  Be sure your body is comfortable before you move into the next phase of eating.

Some Helpful Tips:

  • Plan 3 small meals and 2 small snacks every day.
  • Watch your posture during meals and while drinking fluids.  Sit tall and do not slouch.  This will help with your balloon position properly and increase your tolerance for solids.
  • Stop eating when you feel full.  One additional bite may be too much!
  • Do not drink liquids for 30 minutes before your meal and wait 30 minutes after to drink.
  • No solid food starting 3 hours prior to bed time.
  • Use your anti-nausea medications as prescribed by the physician.

As soon as you feel well enough (usually about 2 weeks), you may start an exercise program.  We recommend getting an activity tracker, such as a FitBit, and aiming for 10,000 steps per day.  ReShape patients all receive a free FitBit and wireless scale that feeds data to your ReShape patient portal.  If you do this your weight loss will be greatly enhanced!

You will meet regularly with your support team to receive nutritional training and to monitor your progress. Over the next 6 months, this will be an important part of your successful lifestyle change. For patients following the program, our goal weight loss during the first 6 months is 30-50 pounds.  Higher-BMI patients will typically be on the high end of this range, and lower-BMI patients on the lower end.  Please note that weight loss is not a guarantee with this procedure; there are some patients who do not follow the program and do not lose weight at all.

Removing Your Intragastric Balloon

Removing the intragastric balloon is a similar process to when it was inserted. The main difference is that we need to take some steps to make sure there is no solid food present in your stomach that could lead to aspiration into your lungs at the time of removal.  If you do not follow these steps, we may be unable to remove your balloon which means we would have to do another removal procedure after your stomach is emptied.

You need to begin a medication called Reglan 48 hours prior to your balloon removal.  Usually this prescription is sent at the time of your balloon placement, if not please contact us with your pharmacy info so that we can arrange this.  

You should also refrain from solid foods for 48 hours before the procedure.  During this time it is helpful to take frequent sips of Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke or Coke Zero. This is to prevent any food from being present in the stomach on the day of your balloon removal, which could lead to aspiration into your lungs.  The carbonation in the diet soda helps to clean the balloon and also move solid food out of the stomach.  You should also having nothing at all to eat or drink for 12 hours prior to the procedure as you will be sedated.  

First your doctor will remove the sterile saline from the balloon, then remove the deflated balloon. The process should take 20-30 minutes and you will be observed for a time afterward to ensure that you are able to be released. Someone will need to be available to drive you home.

After the Intragastric Balloon is Removed

The 6 months after the intragastric balloon is removed are critical to your successful weight loss outcome. Our support team will work with you every step of the way. We will continue to meet with you on a regular basis, providing support, advice, and answering any questions or concerns that may arise. We are committed to helping you achieve and maintain your weight loss goals, so you can live life to the fullest enjoyment with your new body and improved health!

We are no longer offering Orbera.

83 thoughts on “Intra-gastric Balloon Diet & Procedure Instructions

  1. If the hiatal hernia is too large can that be corrected first. Is taking effexsor 75mg bid or other sski meds for 20 years for anxiety, mostly depression, a contraindicated? I am asking about the balloon as this is new to me.

    1. I would not recommend hiatal hernia surgery just to qualify for a balloon. For one thing it has to be a fairly large one (over 5cm) to be disqualified in the first place.

      Dr. Curry

    1. Hi Porita,
      Medical weight loss utilizing Adipex, Belviq, Contrave, etc is an option. The best surgical option is typically conversion to gastric bypass.

      Dr. Curry

  2. I had a balloon placed in Mexico but may not choose to go back to have it removed. Will another bariatric center removed this since it is minimally invasive?

    1. As long as its an Fda approved device (ReShape or Orbera) we could potentially remove it. Call Angie at 513-259-2555 to get the process started.

        1. I had the lap band and it was removed 2 years ago. I am now going to get the balloon. The dr didn’t say I couldn’t get it. Why do u say someone cannot get the balloon after gastric surgery?

          1. This is on the FDA Instructions for Use, balloons not recommended in patients who have had previous gastric surgery. I have done a couple, but it is considered an off-label use.

    1. It’s different for everyone Robert. Many patients do best sleeping on their left side, but to each his own on this one.

      Dr. Curry

    1. Yes you would probably be a great candidate for a balloon, we typically see weight loss of 30-50 lbs, which is often enough to put diabetes in remission.

      Dr. Curry

  3. Hello Dr.Curry,
    Today is my day 14 after the balloon procedure, can I start eating food. Was on liquid for two weeks.

  4. I had ballon placed 5 days ago only lost 3 pounds so far ? Is that normal? I also feel very bloated all of the time?

  5. I have a BMI of 35 am hypergicimic and have sleep apnea I know I would qualify to get this but I need to loose 80-85 lbs would this be something that would work for that???

    1. Hi there,
      50 lbs is considered an excellent result for a gastric balloon. We have had a few patients lose more than that, but not many. You can definitely do it but it will take lots of hard work and commitment.

      Dr. Curry

  6. Had this placement done 9/7/16
    I have Ob sleep apnea which resulted in CHF.
    The fluid is really coming off..wondering if I should slow down on fluid pills to avoid dehydration..
    Down 13 pounds from 334 to 321 already..

    1. Hi Emily,
      Gastric balloons are not covered by insurance but are eligible for HSA/flexible healthcare dollars. Cost is around $6500 for insertion and a 12 month weight loss program.

      Dr. C

  7. I had a heart attack in august and now I am taking brilinta for one year . Do I have to wait until I am off of brilinta to have the balloon placed . I need to lose between 30 to 50 lbs.

    1. Neither are an issue with regard to being able to get the procedure done. Some balloon patients do have worsening of reflux while the balloon is in, but it would go back to baseline after removal.

      Dr. Curry

  8. If you get the balloon. Can you do cross-fit training, Weight lifting? also can you do free dive? I like going spearfishing will that be a problem with the pressure change ? I am asking about snorkeling not diving.

    1. None of those things should be a problem after a couple of weeks when the balloon is well accomodated.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  9. I’ve been fat my all life. I want to use the gastric ballon, but I have the Hyperthyroidism (yes, hyper not hypo). Am I elegible for the procedure? Is there any problem? (Ps: I did not loose wheight soffering Hyperthyroidism).

    1. I don’t see an issue with a hyperthyroidism patient getting a balloon as long as it is well-controlled.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  10. I’m brewer and have small samples 4oz. of beer a 3 or 4 times a week. Will alcohol effect the balloon ?

    1. Some patients can’t tolerate carbonation while the balloon is in. Probably a few sips would be ok.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  11. can I get the balloon under conscious sedation. I have terrible fear of being out to sleep. I was told some doctors only numb your throat.

    1. Yes, we always use conscious sedataion for balloon placement.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  12. I have arthritic knees. I am about 45 pounds overweight. I am very interested in the gastric balloon. I don’t feel that I will be able to do a lot of exercise that involves any strenuous walking jumping etc. would I still be eligible for the balloon if I have to have a minimal exercise program afterwards . I’m very aware of following the exercise and diet program that is prescribed once the balloon is inserted. Please advise.

    1. A balloon is probably still an option, you just have to push yourself as hard as you can activity-wise.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  13. I I got balloon almost 2 months ago. I have lost about 15-18lbs. Seems like I can eat a lot more before I’m full. Is this normal. Anything I can do to feel fuller quicker? Concerned

  14. I have chronic Asthma and take steroids daily. It is very hard to lose weight while on steroids.
    Will this procedure work with steroids?

    1. Oral steroids are a problem with balloons due to the risk of ulcers. If they are inhaled steroids it’s ok.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  15. I had lap band put in in 2008 and had it removed in 2014. I went for a consultation last year and did all the 6 months insurance protocol to have the gastric sleeve and the doctor cancelled my surgery 2 days before because I have a Nutcracker esophagus which I believe was caused by the band. Am I still a candidate for the Balloon?

    1. Possibly, would need to review the records before I could say for sure.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  16. Do you have data on the long-term success of patients who have undergone this treatment, e.g, 1 year, 2 year, 5 year post-removal maintenance of weight loss?

    1. There is no long-term data yet on gastric balloons in the US. It will come in the next year or two most likely.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  17. We have had numerous gastric balloon patients who fly a lot without any issues. Our new Virtual Health Partners technology simplifies virtual visits and would be a great option for an out-of-towner.

    Dr. Trace Curry
    Medical Director
    JourneyLite Physicians

  18. I had a question for the DR.

    Have you ever treated soneone who did everthing as asvised and didn’t lose? I’m concerned I will follow the plan and not lose

    1. We have had patients not lose, but if you really follow the plan it would be very rare.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  19. I am considering the Reshape balloon, but haven’t had a consult yet. I had pretty bad Barret’s Esophagus and had a repair on a large Hyadial hernia about 10 years ago. I have to take Protonix daily to manage it. Would I be a canadate?

    1. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend a gastric balloon in a patient with Barrett’s esophagus and a hiatal hernia repair. Reflux sometimes gets a lot worse while the balloon is in.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  20. Hello,

    I had a removal scheduled last Sunday but unfortunately I couldn’t remove the gastric balloon due to accumulation of food. I just wanted to know what foods should I be eating now knowing that this Sunday I have another removal scheduled.

    Thank you

    1. In a situation like this we would typically recommend clear liquids only for 72 hours prior to removal. Typically we also use a medication called Reglan to increase gastric emptying.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

      1. Yes but prior to it with 30 hours I ate a heavy fried meal. Are there any foods I can eat this time that would perhaps be digested quickly? In addition to that I’ll be drinking Diet Pepsi with the meals. I just want food that would keep me from being hungry.

    1. There is no absolute age limit, however if a patient is over 65 they would need to be in pretty good health and able to exercise, otherwise the procedure won’t produce good results.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

    1. I wouldn’t recommend it as most patients as nausea and vomiting can be an issue for a few days afterwards.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  21. Hello Dr Curry
    I’m told by my doctor that i have a 2-3 cm sliding hiatal hernia and should get the balloon at my own risk if i choose to do so. I told him i really dont get many symptoms such as reflux etc. It happens very infrequently. What do you think? Im really eager to go through with it.

    1. Smaller hiatal hernias such as this are not a problem in my experience with a balloon, in fact they are very common.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  22. I had gastric bypass surgery approx. 15 years ago, or longer. I signed up for an appointment for the Reshape Gastric Balloon, but I just read in this dialog that is isn’t available if you have had bariatric surgery, but a few was done. Is it worth pursuing, is it available if I have had gastric bypass? Also, it says that it isn’t covered by insurance. Dr Curry is in my Network, and Gastric Bypass is covered under my insurance coverage, is it possible it could be covered?

    1. Bypass patients can’t get a balloon, there is no room for it in the small pouch.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

  23. Dear Dr Curry,

    I had the procedure done about 6 days ago. Not much side effects, but on the 3rd days I began feelibg so hungry and feel like I can eat anything. I still try ti stay on liquid , but the hubger pain is so extrem, is this normal ans what can I do to not feel hubgry?

    1. This can be a struggle for patients until they get back on solid food. There is no good answer other than good old fashion suck-it-up and work through it.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

    1. Unfortunately the risk of GI bleeding is too high with those foreign bodies floating around in there for 6 months.

      Dr. Trace Curry
      Medical Director
      JourneyLite Physicians

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