Dr. Jorge Green, MD

Comparing Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Balloon Procedure – Which One is Better?

Obesity is a serious medical issue that affects people on a deep level. In addition to being a serious health problem, obesity also causes social issues, such as discrimination, lower wages, and difficulty initiating and maintaining relationships due to low self-esteem. 

Obesity not only undermines the person’s physical health, making them more prone to severe medical complications such as heart problems, hypertension, and diabetes, but it also undermines their psychological health. People suffering from obesity, especially severe obesity (BMI over 40), are more likely to develop mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

Unlike popular opinion, dieting and exercise don’t work in every case, nor does every obesity sufferer have the ability to dedicate themselves enough for visible results. Thankfully, because of the technological advancements in medicine and surgery, we now have effective, safe weight loss treatment procedures that produce long-lasting results. Two of the most successful treatments acknowledged widely in the international medical community are gastric sleeve and gastric balloon procedures. 

Dr. Jorge Green has wide expertise in gastric balloon and gastric sleeve procedures and has performed over a thousand in his 17-year career. Let’s compare these bariatric procedures and see which one is better. 

Gastric Sleeve Surgery 

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known medically as sleeve gastronomy or vertical sleeve gastronomy (VSG), is a bariatric treatment done to reduce the total stomach volume. It is done with the help of laparoscopy and involves cutting the stomach using small incisions until a banana-sized and shaped pouch is left. Gastric sleeve surgery cuts almost 80 percent of the patient’s original stomach size and produces incredible results. 

Since laparoscopy is used in gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon does not have to make a huge cut on the stomach to perform the procedure, but a small one around the belly button area suffices. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes 1 to 2 hours. 

The surgeon does not directly cut off a piece of the stomach but makes multiple small and precise incisions. The recovery, in the case of gastric sleeve surgery, is very quick and only involves a 1 to 3-day stay in the hospital. Gastric sleeve surgery works by reducing the stomach’s food storage capacity. Since the overall size of the stomach is significantly reduced, the patient feels full much quicker when eating, which causes a natural calorie deficit. In the long run, this calorie deficit results in effective and permanent weight loss. 

Furthermore, a significant outcome is a reduced level of hunger hormones in the patient, where they feel fewer cravings. With a successful gastric sleeve surgery, a necessary post-operation lifestyle, and eating habits, you can expect to lose around 60 to 70 percent of your excess body weight in less than 12 months.

Gastric Balloon Procedure 

Gastric balloon procedure, also known as intragastric balloon, is an FDA-approved, non-surgical, non-invasive bariatric treatment with the ultimate goal of artificially reducing the stomach’s capacity. Gastric balloon treatment is done by carefully positioning a medical implant, a gastric balloon made of silicon, inside the patient’s stomach. This balloon is filled with saline water and takes up major space in the stomach. 

The gastric balloon treatment is completely non-invasive. It is done with the help of endoscopy and does not involve cuts. The procedure is done under mild sedation (to avoid irritation) and takes 20 to 30 minutes, after which the patient can go home. There is no specific recovery time, and the patient can carry on their daily activities in a day or two, as the medical professional advises. 

The gastric balloon treatment is reversible as the balloon (or balloons) can be removed in 6 to 12 months. There are different types of gastric balloon procedures based on the balloon used. The treatment works similarly to gastric sleeve by reducing the food storage capacity of the stomach. You can lose up to 70 percent of your excess weight in 6 to 12 months with gastric balloon treatment, after which you can even remove the balloon.

A General Comparison 

Let’s do a general comparison of gastric sleeve and gastric balloon procedures. 

Type of Procedure 

One of the major differences between gastric sleeve and gastric balloon treatments is that the gastric sleeve is a surgical bariatric method (invasive). In contrast, the gastric balloon is a non-surgical (non-invasive) procedure. There are no cuts involved in the gastric balloon treatment. However, the gastric sleeve surgery is done with a small incision. 

Anesthesia or Sedation 

Gastric sleeve bariatric surgery is performed under general anesthesia, whereas gastric balloon treatment is done under mild sedation. 

Procedure Length and Costs 

The gastric sleeve surgery usually takes 1 to 2 hours, whereas the gastric balloon treatment takes 20 to 30 minutes. In terms of cost, both are priced almost the same. However, the gastric balloon treatment can cost slightly more based on your type of balloon.

Hospital Stay and Recovery Time 

The gastric balloon procedure is an outpatient treatment; the patient can go home the same day. However, in the case of gastric sleeve surgery, the patient might have to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days based on their condition. Similarly, the complete recovery time for gastric sleeve surgery is 3 to 6 weeks, whereas for gastric balloon treatment, it is around 3 to 7 days. 


The gastric balloon treatment is a reverse procedure, as the balloon can be removed after some time. However, gastric sleeve surgery is permanent. 

Final Thoughts – Book Your Consultation

Choose between gastric sleeve surgery or gastric balloon procedure based on your condition and needs. To better understand which of the two aligns more with your objectives, book your consultation with weight loss expert and board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Jorge Green for professional medical advice.

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