Also known as an intragastric balloon, a gastric balloon is a non-surgical object that can be used for weight loss. Made of a soft and pliable silicone elastomer material, the tool may be ideal for those who have difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise. The gastric balloon procedure is often utilized for those who have a body mass index between 30 and 40.
Although the gastric balloon is designed to limit the amount of food that patients can consume and reduce feelings of hunger, patients must be committed to healthy lifestyle changes after the procedure. When combined with a regular diet, this procedure may promote optimal health among patients with obesity.
For more information about the gastric balloon and to find out if it is a good choice for you, contact our office today for a consultation. Our doctor can help you determine based on your weight and health if the procedure would be a good fit for you.
Since weight loss surgery is not the right choice for everyone, a doctor may perform comprehensive screenings to determine the right candidates. During the six months following the insertion of the gastric balloon, some patients lose approximately 10 to 15 percent of body weight. Along with complying to prescribed diets, many people decide to pursue the gastric balloon procedure to lose weight before an important event, like a wedding or high school reunion.
Performing the Gastric Balloon Procedure
In order to prepare properly for the treatment, your doctor will provide you with a list of specific instructions that you need to follow. The gastric procedure consists of placing patients under sedation or general anesthesia. Before placing the gastric balloon in the stomach, a surgeon will perform an examination of the area by using an endoscopic camera. Following the comprehensive examination, the deflated balloon will be placed into the stomach through the mouth. Once the balloon is successfully situated inside the stomach, the object is instantly filled with sterile saline through the attached catheter. Afterwards, the surgeon will remove the catheter by gently pulling on the external end to prompt the gastric balloon to float freely in the stomach.
Throughout the procedure, muscle relaxing medications and a throat spray may be used. The length of the gastric balloon procedure varies for each patient, and there is no overnight requirement. However, patients may be monitored by a surgeon for a short amount of time to ensure that they did not have an adverse reaction to the gastric balloon.
The Removal Process
In most cases, the gastric balloon remains in the stomach for a span of approximately six months. The surgeon may recommend a course of oral medication to reduce the stomach acid, irritation, and damage. When the acidic content begins to weaken the gastric balloon, prompt removal of the balloon is necessary.
The surgeon will gently remove the gastric balloon after puncturing and deflating the object in the stomach with a catheter. As soon as the balloon is deflated, the object can be grasped and removed through the mouth. If the patient would like to continue the treatment, a new gastric balloon can be placed in the stomach. As a temporary weight loss solution, the balloon procedure may be performed to help patients lose enough weight to undergo surgical operations such as gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery.
The balloon procedure is unique because it involves a temporary surgical placement, while other weight loss surgeries involve long-term or permanent changes to the stomach.
The Benefits of a Gastric Balloon
When combined with a healthy lifestyle, a gastric balloon may support long-term weight loss. Medical conditions such as sleep apnea, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes could also be substantially improved after the procedure, as long as the procedure results in weight loss and improved eating habits for the patient. In addition, the procedure may promote optimal mobility and self-esteem.
Since the gastric balloon procedure is minimally invasive, the treatment is unlikely to drastically disrupt everyday day. Unlike many other weight loss treatments, after undergoing the gastric balloon procedure, patients can consume all types of foods in small portions. Most doctors will assign a registered dietician to the patient to create a nutritional program that caters to their unique preferences. This nutritional program will ultimately encourage healthy weight loss. Even after the removal of the gastric balloon, most experts believe that the patients will still continue to gradually lose weight as the treatment promotes good behavioral changes.
Most patients also appreciate that the procedure itself is minimally invasive and does not require an overnight stay or large incision like with a major surgery. As compared to other weight loss operations, the gastric balloon procedure usually results in fewer complications. The balloon procedure may also reduce the risks that are typically associated with weight loss surgical operations.
Important Recovery Information
After the gastric balloon procedure, most patients will be able to return home the same day of the weight loss treatment. During the first few weeks of recovery, a doctor may advise the patient to consume liquids before progressing to soft and solid food. Depending on the stomach’s reaction to the foreign object, patients should be able to engage in normal recreational or work activities two days after the balloon procedure. Following the insertion of the gastric balloon, patients will have frequent meetings with medical professionals such as nutritionists, specialized nurses, and psychologists. The recovery may also involve regular exercise to encourage the long-term success of the procedure.
To get the most out of your recovery, you will need to follow the instructions provided by your doctor. These instructions will be tailored to you, your medical history, your health, and your weight. By following these instructions carefully, you can improve your experience with the balloon procedure. During the recovery process, you are encouraged to contact your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
To learn more about the balloon procedure for weight loss, or to ask about other weight loss surgery options, contact our office today.