The gastric balloon is a non-surgical weight loss option. It is used in conjunction with a diet that can help you achieve the benefits of weight loss.
The balloon is a soft, silicone sack that is inserted into the stomach and filled with sterile saline. This will give you a feeling of satiety, or lack of hunger which will help you learn to moderate your food intake so that you eat less and lose weight without surgery.
If your BMI score is over 30, a gastric balloon may help you to achieve long-term weight loss, and the management of other medical conditions such as (Type 2) diabetes or high blood pressure.
The gastric balloon procedure is often used as a pathway to greater weight loss, for patients considered too overweight or at increased risk to undergo vital surgery. The use of the balloon to successfully reduce weight prior to surgery can also help to reduce the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.
The gastric balloon is a day-case procedure, so in general it does not require an overnight stay in hospital.
The gastric balloon is placed into the stomach through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. Before this takes place, the consultant surgeon will conduct an examination of the stomach using an endoscopic camera, and if no abnormalities are present then the surgeon will proceed with the placement of the gastric balloon. The gastric balloon is made of a soft silicone material and is inserted while in its smallest (deflated) form. The swallowing process is made easier with the help of a throat spray to numb the throat area, and muscle relaxing medications are often used...
Placement times for a gastric balloon are usually 20-30 minutes, after which you will be monitored by your surgeon for a short time.
The gastric balloon is normally removed in the same way it was placed, via the mouth. As with the insertion of the balloon, the surgeon will introduce a catheter through the mouth and into the stomach. The balloon will then be punctured and deflated, and can then be removed.
The gastric balloon can be used for six months. Any longer than this time frame is not recommended as over time the acidic content of the stomach will weaken the balloon material and cause the balloon to deflate.
While you have the gastric balloon in place, your surgeon may prescribe a course of oral medication to reduce any stomach acid (this may reduce the possibility of stomach irritation and damage to the balloon).