How it works


The procedure is performed in well-equipped medical clinics, specifically designed for endoscopy functions. The comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and the administered mild sedative will help you feel at ease with the procedure which usually lasts around 15 minutes. Dr. Haytham would then examine your stomach endoscopically to ensure safe implantation of the balloon. Once the balloon is in the stomach, Saline solution mixed with a blue dye is pumped down a tube into the balloon.

Using an endoscope, Dr. Haytham would inspect your stomach and esophagus to exclude any contraindications to the gastric balloon insertion, e.g. a gastric ulcer or big hiatus hernia, then the balloon is inserted and filled with a sterile blue saline solution. When the consultant is satisfied with the size and position of the filled balloon, the endoscope is extracted. You will then be moved into a recovery room until you are fully awoken from the effect of the sedative. Then a staff member will discharge you. At this point, you may still be feeling a little dizzy from the sedative so driving is not recommended.

There may be a feeling of discomfort and sickness in the first few days as the stomach adjusts to the balloon, and the specialists will guide you through the first week from a clear liquid, pureed, soft diet back to solids. The discomfort will ease towards the end of the first week and you should be ready for a regular but more portioned nutrition plan after the first week. The clinical support includes providing the patients with intravenous fluids, if needed, at our clinics in Valby and Aarhus, during the early days of the balloon adaptation period, and after, in case of intolerance. The success of the treatment is largely dependent on your compliance with the medical recommendations, and your commitment to modifying your dietary and lifestyle habits. Depending on the type of balloon, it could stay in your stomach for up to six (Medsil, Endball, Orbera) or 12 months (Spatz gastric balloon).

The procedure is performed in Denmark clinics (Copenhagen and Aarhus), and in Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo) by Dr. Haytham who has so far inserted, adjusted, and removed more than 4000 balloons with remarkable success. Nordic Gastric Balloon upholds a general recommendation that the gastric balloon procedure is to be performed by a specialist with at least five years of experience in the endoscopic field. Dr. Haytham has 15 years of experience in gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and cystoscopy. To ensure patient safety and optimal weight loss, all procedures are strictly conducted by Dr. Haytham.

At the beginning of gastric balloon therapy, a majority of people will develop some form of gastrointestinal symptoms due to gastric accommodation to the balloon. Typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, acid reflux, burping, stomach upset, and constipation.

The patient condition can be ameliorated by the medications prescribed before, during, and after the procedure. The clinic will also advise patients to follow a specific diet for the first five days to reduce the effect of those symptoms. Many patients can also benefit from taking short walks two to three times a day if they can. Early balloon removal may be necessary if symptoms persist. However, very few people (4% to 7%) continue to experience significant gastrointestinal symptoms after the first week of therapy. In certain clinical trials, early removal rates for some gastric balloons were 7% and 9%, according to a review by the UptoDate website.

A small number of serious adverse events (SAEs) have been reported with gastric balloon therapy, related to either the balloon or the procedure. Those events can occur early in the treatment or even later. 

Gastric balloons left in the stomach longer than the intended duration of therapy are at risk of rupturing and migrating into the intestine. While most migrated balloons were excreted successfully, some caused intestinal obstructions. Thus, patients should be followed closely to ensure timely balloon removal, which reduces the risk of balloon migration and intestinal obstruction.

Many of the balloons are filled with sterile saline that is dyed blue. If a rupture occurs, the patient’s urine may turn blue or green because the spilled dye is absorbed and then excreted by the kidneys. This mechanism warns the patient that the balloon has ruptured, so it can be retrieved before it migrates and causes bowel obstruction.

Other balloon-related SAEs included severe vomiting, abdominal pain, stomach pain, nausea, bleeding ulcer, gastric outlet obstruction, gastric perforation, pancreatitis.

Most procedure-related SAEs occur during balloon removal, including esophageal tear, pneumonia, gastrointestinal bleeding, and esophageal perforation. At Nordic Gastric Balloon, the procedures are performed by Dr. Al-tayar who is the most experienced in the Scandinavian countries and has been recognized for his top-quality performance. (Read about Dr. Al-tayar’s bio here)

Related topic:

Why travel to Copenhagen for the gastric balloon?

What’s the maximum weight one can lose using Spatz balloon?

Is it easy to swallow Elipse capsule?

After your physician confirms that Elipse Balloon therapy is right for you, s/he will place the balloon in your stomach during a brief 20-minute outpatient visit. You will swallow a capsule that contains the deflated balloon along with a thin tube. Once the capsule has entered your stomach, your doctor will use the tube to fill the balloon with liquid. Once the balloon is filled, your doctor will gently remove the tube—and you’ll be on your way.

Most people are able to swallow the capsule containing the Elipse Balloon without any issue. People who do have difficulty swallowing it can be assisted by their physician, who will use a thin wire (stylet) to help guide the capsule into place—still without endoscopy or anesthesia.

As a participant in the comprehensive Elipse Program, you will receive the support you need to succeed. You will be guided by a team of compassionate healthcare professionals including a physician and a nutritionist. A wireless digital scale provides constant updates on your progress to your care team and multiple visits with your team help you get the maximum benefit from your Elipse Balloon.

Like all medical interventions, the gastric balloon procedure has its own risks as well. However, they are very rare, hence it’s still considered safer than the more invasive and expensive bariatric surgery (Gastric bypass and sleeve). It’s widely believed that the risks associated with overweight and obesity are higher than the very rare risks associated with this procedure. And to put the gastric balloon device in perspective, most studies report a significantly higher rate of serious adverse events for gastric bypass and sleeve surgeries.

The effectiveness of gastric balloon treatment and its safety depend mostly on the following factors:

  • Doctor: the experience of the medical professionals performing the procedure. (Read about Dr. Haytham’s remarkable experience here)
  • Balloon: the type of implanted gastric balloons. (We use European CE-marked gastric balloons, read more about it here).
  • Patient: Involvement of the patient in the therapeutic process.
    The patient’s knowledge of obesity and their compliance with the treatment, including the use of prescribed medications, and the following of the recommended dietary and exercise regime.
    Motivation to achieve the therapeutic goal and maintaining the effects after the balloon is removed.

Losing weight in people who are overweight or obese has significant health benefits. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for various cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and some cancers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). At Nordic Gastric Balloon, recipients of intragastric balloons have lost up to 70 kg from their original weight after 12 months. People with a body mass index (BMI) that is over 27 (calculate BMI) who seek to lose weight are encouraged to contact the clinic for a free consultation to check their medical eligibility for this procedure.