Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
How Much Should I Budget for a Weight-Loss Balloon?
At NuBody Concepts in Nashville, the price for the Orbera Intragastric Balloon is all-inclusive. This means that it includes both the placement of the balloon and its removal six months later, in addition to monthly follow-up sessions with our consultant. It also includes all surgeon and anesthesia fees as well as taxes. Please make sure to ask us about information for out-of-town patients if you do not live in the greater Nashville area.
Please visit our pricing page to check for any current special offers and discounts.
Keep reading to learn which factors to consider when budgeting for a gastric balloon.
What’s Included in the Price of a Gastric Balloon
According to the Bariatric Surgery Source, the average gastric balloon cost in the United States is $8,150. When searching for prices online, however, you may find it offered for as little as $4,500.
Don’t be fooled by such low offerings. These prices don’t necessarily include all expenses incurred such as anesthesia, operating room or surgeon fees, or other related expenses. Once you add such fees, you could easily double the price of the procedure.
When comparing prices for a gastric balloon, also make sure they include both placement and removal of the balloon. They are two distinct procedures separated by six months, but they are part of the same process and should be counted as one from a pricing standpoint.
At NuBody Concepts, all prices are all-inclusive. What you are quoted is your final price for both the insertion and later removal of the weight-loss balloon – no hidden fees, surcharges, or taxes. Your only incidental expenses will be for the prescription medications (pain medication) we call in prior to your procedure.
Weight-Loss Balloon Costs by Geographic Area
First off, gastric balloons are not offered in all areas of the country. They can be performed by a gastric or cosmetic surgeon, but since these procedures are relatively new, not all practices offer them.
In addition, gastric balloon cost – like the cost of cosmetic surgery in general – is dependent on geographic location. It tracks closely to other factors such as the cost of education, rents, and the level of demand. As it is a rather short procedure (20-30 minutes each for placement and removal) the price range based on location isn’t quite as wide as it is for, say, a mommy makeover. You could pay as much as $12,000 for a gastric balloon in a higher-cost area of the country.
This is true only for the United States. You may find better weight-loss balloon pricing in cosmetic surgery tourism promoting countries such as Mexico, India, or Turkey. However, you can’t be sure that safety standards are the same in those countries as they are in the United States.
Within the United States, big metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta tend to be higher-priced for any cosmetic surgery. Traveling to a lower-cost area like Nashville, TN for your gastric balloon or other cosmetic procedure could potentially save you thousands of dollars without sacrificing your safety. If you do travel to Nashville from elsewhere, make sure to ask about information for out-of-town guests.
Gastric Balloon Costs by Type
The Orbera Balloon: Orbera is the most widely sold gastric balloon, with over 300,000 balloon placements worldwide. It is both placed and removed by a surgeon in a minimally-invasive procedure under IV sedation and stays in place for 6 months. Realself lists the average cost of the Orbera balloon as $6,925.
The Obalon Balloon: The Obalon balloon is similar to the Orbera balloon in that it takes up space in your stomach over the course of 6 months. However, it is placed by swallowing a capsule attached to a thin tube that the surgeon then fills with gas. You repeat this every 2 weeks for a total of 3 balloons. The removal occurs in the same fashion as with Orbera. The average cost of the Obalon balloon is listed on Realself as $7,875.
Elipse Intragastric Balloon: The Elipse Balloon, listed on Realself at an average price of $4,800, is a swallowable balloon that is filled with a saline solution. It is designed to self-deflate after 4 months, rendering the removal procedure unnecessary. This is why the procedure is priced so much lower than the other balloons.
Gastric Bypass: Gastric Bypass is a bariatric surgery and should not be confused with a gastric balloon. It is a more invasive type of surgery that creates a smaller stomach altogether. At an average cost of $12,775, it is also substantially more expensive than a gastric balloon.
Financing Your Gastric Balloon
No doubt, engaging in a gastric balloon weight loss program is a financial investment. However, if you are able to spread the payments out over time, what may seem unattainable to you is actually within easy reach.
To take advantage of a medical financing interest-free payment plan, you’ll need to find out your credit score and apply with a provider. To get started, visit our Payment Options page, where you can check your credit score (this is a free service). A minimum credit score of 600 will typically qualify for medical financing from one of our lenders. If you don’t get approved, you might try a different provider – each varies slightly in its credit score cutoff. Once approved, schedule your consultation with a gastric surgeon and make sure to bring your lender account information to your office visit.
Please also note that a gastric balloon is considered elective surgery. This means that most health insurance plans won’t cover it.
A gastric or bariatric surgeon with many years of experience performing various forms of bariatric surgery including the latest endoscopic balloon placement methods will rightly charge more than a general surgeon with less experience.
The experience of your surgeon is a good indicator of the level of expertise – and thereby the outcomes from a gastric balloon procedure – you are likely to get. You will want to avoid a poorly executed procedure by a doctor trying out unfamiliar equipment. If you need to have the procedure repeated later due to undesirable results, your overall cost will be higher than if you had made sure to pick a quality – and likely more pricey – surgeon to begin with.
Number of Repeat Treatments
When planning a weight-loss program with an intragastric balloon, it is important to consider your total downtime, which can also have an effect on cost. The first question to ask is if your total quoted price includes both the placement and the removal of the balloon.
The second factor to consider is how many balloons are being placed. Some procedures require the repeat placement of several balloons, which together take up space in your stomach.
You should also take the overall success rate and efficacy of each type of balloon into account. If you can be sure it’s going to work the first time – meaning your balloon gets placed once and lasts the entire 6 months without rupture or deflation – you will save time and money overall. Both the type of balloon and the skill of your surgeon will influence the first-time success rate. Also make sure to ask who will be responsible for the cost of a replacement balloon in the event that it does prematurely rupture – patient or doctor? A deflation or rupture is not typically a serious problem, but it does require a replacement unless it occurs very near the end.
Ready to Get Started?
We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding of how to budget for an intra-gastric balloon procedure. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
If you are ready to see if you qualify as a candidate and to receive a quote, simply self-schedule a consultation with our gastric surgeon at our Nashville practice.
- Bariatric Surgery Source, Gastric Balloon: 14 Ways It Will Affect You
- Realself, Orbera Gastric Balloon: What You Need to Know
- Realself, Obalon Intragastric Balloon: What You Need to Know
- Realself, Elipse Balloon: What You Need to Know