Endoscopic Therapy: What to Expect

Our endoscopic balloon therapy provides a new and exciting opportunity for a wider range of patients seeking to lose weight. But our program doesn’t stop there — the nonsurgical procedure is part of a comprehensive yearlong program to help ensure the weight stays off.

Learn more about our endoscopic therapy for weight loss, including the benefits of the procedure and our expertise.

Intragastric Balloon Device for Weight Loss: The Procedure

A Washington University physician at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital has extensive experience treating patients with the new devices.

Our procedure — and our larger program — features a number of steps:

  • Balloon selection: The intragastric balloons come in two versions: single balloon and dual balloon. You will work with the physician to help decide which is right for you.
  • Insertion: In an outpatient procedure, the physician inserts the device through your mouth, using a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) to follow your esophagus down to your stomach.
  • Inflation: The balloon(s) is inflated with a sterile saline solution so that it takes up space in your stomach, helping you eat less food and feel full more quickly.
  • Weight loss with device: The device remains in your stomach for six months, while you participate in monthly appointments that include nutrition support for weight loss and behavior coaching for lifestyle changes.
  • Removal: After six months, the physician deflates the balloon(s) and removes the device the same way it was inserted: in an endoscopic procedure through your mouth.
  • Continued support: You continue your monthly appointments for six more months, for a total of 12 months in our lifestyle coaching program.

Intragastric Balloon Device for Weight Loss: What You Can Expect

The device is one tool within an overall weight-loss program that lasts one year. It’s an intensive lifestyle therapy program with support services to help you make lasting behavioral changes for your best possible health.

Our comprehensive program includes:

  • Information session: You must attend one of our sessions to get started. Review our criteria to determine if you are a candidate for the intragastric balloon, and register online for the nonsurgical weight loss information session.
  • Medical evaluation: You will meet with the physician to assess your overall health, review the criteria, discuss your goals and set expectations. Bring a list of your current medications and any questions you may have.
  • Balloon insertion and removal: The physician inserts the balloon device in an outpatient procedure, then removes it six months later. Light anesthesia is used for both procedures.
  • Twelve-month program: During the program, you visit regularly and work on your personalized treatment plan with our team:
    • Program coordinator
    • Physician
    • Nurse practitioner
    • Registered dietitians
    • Behavior coach
    • Exercise specialist, as needed
  • Tools for success (dual-balloon patients only):
    • Online food diary and activity tracker: This website allows you to record your calorie intake and physical activity to help you stay on track.
    • Fitbit: This physical activity tracker synchronizes your activity with your online profile.
    • WiFi scale: The scale automatically connects with your other devices and tracks weight, body mass index (BMI), and percentages of lean mass and body fat, so you can see trends over time.
    • Confidential online patient portal: You can keep in touch with your weight-loss team on a secure website.

Intragastric Balloon Device for Weight Loss: Financing

Because the endoscopic weight-loss therapy option is so new, many health insurance plans don’t cover the cost yet. We work with you and your insurer to determine what your plan will cover and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.

Options for paying for the procedure and our program include paying directly out of pocket, using your tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA) or arranging a third-party financing service. Our program coordinator will discuss all of these options with you at the information session.

Contact Us for Weight-Loss Treatment

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a bariatric physician, call Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital at 314.542.WEST (9378) or toll-free at 844.542.9378.

Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital is conveniently located just one mile west of I-270 in Creve Coeur, Missouri — a west county suburb of St. Louis.

The Washington University Bariatric Endoscopic Therapy office is located in Medical Office Building 3, Suite 100. The address is 1020 North Mason Road, at the corner of North Mason and Executive Parkway. Get directions and maps.

Register for a Nonsurgical Weight Loss Information Session.

Join a Washington University gastroenterologist to learn more about this new minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. This event is free, but registration is required.

Washington University Physicians accepting new patients:

Vladimir M. Kushnir, MD
Daniel K. Mullady, MD
Dayna S. Early, MD


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Find a doctor or make an appointment: 314.542.WEST (9378) OR TOLL-FREE 1.844.542.9378
General Information: (314) 996.8000
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Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141
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