What is gastric balloon? A gastric or intra-gastric balloon is an inflatable device, which is used as a temporary aid in achieving weight loss. The gastric balloon is inserted directly into the stomach using an endoscope via the mouth and oesophagus and then inflated with air or saline through a valve and port to produce artificial bulk in the stomach. This balloon helps people to feel full for longer and reduces the ability to consume large volumes of food or fluid.
Gastric balloon surgery is performed under sedation and generally takes about 20 - 30 minutes. As gastric balloon insertion is only aimed at providing a temporary weight loss solution, the balloon can only be left in place for a maximum of six months. A gastric balloon may be used to help patients who may not qualify for other forms of weight loss surgery but do have health problems related to their weight. It can also be used with more seriously obese patients who need short-term assistance in getting to a safer weight before contemplating more complex and permanent weight loss surgery.
What is recovery like? The first few days after the procedure are generally uncomfortable until the stomach becomes used to the presence of the intra-gastric balloon. It is common for many patients to experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea and cramping until their body completely adjusts.
Following a procedure, all patients are restricted to a liquid only diet for the first three days, i.e. water, juice, milk, thin soup and sloppy jelly. Gradually a patient's ability to tolerate most types of food will improve, although the volume of food they are able to consume in one intake will be substantially reduced whilst the balloon is in place.
Depending on their level of nausea, most patients are discharged on the same day or the day after surgery. In the early days following discharge patients are strongly advised to stay gently mobile at home, but to avoid any level of activity that would cause undue strain on the abdomen.
Patients will be advised to take a specific amount of time off work (generally about a week) and to refrain from any strenuous exercise for at least 8 weeks following surgery.
What risks are associated with gastric balloon? Although intra-gastric balloon procedures are generally performed without any complications, it is very important that patients are fully aware of both the benefits and risks of undertaking this type of specialist weight loss procedure.
Specific complications related to gastric balloon surgery include:
On rare occasions the intra-gastric balloon can deflate and/or migrate through the stomach and into the intestines. This can lead to an erosion or obstruction of the stomach or intestine, which requires urgent corrective surgery.
Bleeding or perforation may also occur during balloon insertion or removal, also requiring corrective surgery.
Am I a suitable candidate for gastric balloon? Mr. Ashraf Rasheed the director of Weight-Less-Life-Wales will carry out a full evaluation of your individual needs /circumstances and provide you with a comprehensive verbal and written explanation of any recommended treatment.
All members of Weight-Less-Life-Wales expert team understand the importance of the decision you are making when contemplating a weight loss procedure. You will be encouraged to ask as many questions as you wish and to take your time deciding whether you wish to proceed with any treatment.