When considering your weight loss journey, it is important that you explore all possible options available to you – all procedures will be discussed in great detail with your bariatric surgeon before making an informed decision.
One of the many procedures we offer for the treatment of weight loss is a Gastric Balloon.
What is a Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon can often be the first step in your journey to weight loss. It is a non-surgical treatment combined with a balance of a healthier diet and more active lifestyle to help you achieve efficient weight loss.
Like other weight loss treatments, the gastric balloon restricts the amount of food you are able to consume and makes you feel fuller for longer. This is achieved by inserting a soft silicon balloon into the stomach for a 6-month period, therefore temporarily reducing the size of the stomach pouch and reducing the amount of food the stomach can hold.
What does the procedure involve?
This is a relatively minor procedure that takes on average between 20 and 30 minutes.
Your bariatric surgeon will begin by examining your stomach using an endoscope (camera and light on a tube) and will then continue with placing the balloon into the stomach. The (deflated) balloon is inserted orally (through the mouth), down your oesophagus and into your stomach.
Once in place, you surgeon will fill the balloon with a fluid (saline) and leave the balloon floating freely in your stomach for the next 6 months – assuming no complications arise in that period. The balloon is removed in the same way it was inserted.
In most cases you are able to go home the same day you have the procedure.
What are the advantages of a Gastric Balloon?
- A gastric balloon is the least expensive option as it does not require the use of anaesthetics and you can usually leave the hospital the same day
- This procedure is reversible – the balloon can be removed allowing you to continue your weight loss journey without having to manipulate/remove any part of your stomach
- The process of fitting a gastric balloon is quick, simple and only requires a mild sedative
- In most cases, patients are satisfied with the level of weight loss achieved in that 6 month period
- If your weight loss comes to a halt then the size of the balloon can be increased – this is done by filling it with more saline therefore taking up more room in the stomach pouch.
- When deciding whether to have surgery to aid weight loss, there are some criteria’s that you must meet, however if you do not meet this then the gastric balloon can be used to help you lose the weight
What are the negatives of a Gastric Balloon?
- General complications in any minimal invasive procedure (e.g. pain, nausea/vomiting or minor bleeding)
- Only a short term solution meaning you may gain weight after balloon is removed
- In some cases people find the balloon has not helped achieve the weight loss they were hoping for
- Your abdomen may feel ‘heavy’
- The rate of weight loss is slower compared to other surgical options
Is a Gastric Balloon the right option for me?
If you are required to lose weight before for a surgical weight loss treatment then a gastric balloon can act as your stepping stone to get to the next stage of weight loss treatment. It may be that you would simply prefer to have a non-surgical/non-invasive treatment to help you lose weight, and so a gastric balloon is the option for you.
You need to be aware that although a gastric balloon will help you to achieve long-term weight loss, you will need to be aware that the rate of weight loss will be slower compared to surgical procedures.
A gastric balloon is suitable for people who have a BMI between 27 and 35 – this, as well as other factors (e.g. health conditions) will all be thoroughly analysed and discussed in consultation with you bariatric surgeon in order to make an informed decision.
A gastric balloon helps to make you feel full and therefore less likely to want to eat excessively. It’s an ideal solution to undertake whilst commencing a weight loss programme. A balloon is inserted into the stomach for six months. It can help to give you that start you are looking for when making lifestyle changes and eating habits.
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