What is a gastric balloon?
A gastric balloon, otherwise known as an endoscopic intragastric balloon or stomach balloon is a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure used to assist in weight loss.
How does a gastric balloon procedure assist in weight loss?
Specially designed balloons made from medical grade silicon are placed inside your stomach via a gastroscope through your mouth. Once the balloons (there can be 1-3 balloons inserted) are in your stomach they are filled with sterile saline and can remain in place for six months. Each balloon is about the size of a grapefruit and takes up space if your stomach limiting the amount of food you are able to eat as well as having a feeling of being full sooner.
How much weight is generally lost?
Typically, patients who have a gastric balloon procedure lose approximately 13 – 24 kg of weight in 6 months when the balloons are removed.
What are the other health benefits (other than weight loss)?
As with all weight loss procedures there are other benefits attached to gastric balloon, the most common being:
- Improved self image and psychological benefits
- Remission of type 2 diabetes
- Improved heart health
- Improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Improved joint health
- Improved overall feeling of well-being
What are the risks and potential complications of a gastric balloon procedure?
As the gastric balloon is a non-surgical minimally invasive weight loss option there are no surgical risks associated with the procedure, however there are other potential complications associated with the procedure including:
- A feeling of discomfort or reflux
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting within the first 12-48 hours as the body tries to reject the balloon. Dr Ozmen will prescribe medication to alleviate these symptoms.
- Leaving the balloon in the stomach for a longer than recommended period of time causing it to deflate
- The balloon rupturing and in very rare circumstances stomach perforation
Who qualifies for a gastric balloon procedure?
As the intragastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure, more people qualify as candidates. It is also often chosen by those who need assistance to lose weight but don’t want to undergo a surgical weight loss procedure. However, there are some guidelines as to ideal candidates for the intragastric balloon including:
- Patients who want to lose some weight in the short term prior to committing to a surgical weight loss procedure
- Patients who are not eligible for surgery
- Those with a lower level BMI
- Patients who have not had prior bariatric surgery, bowel or stomach problems
- Those who have tried and failed with diet and exercise programs – the gastric balloon works together with diet and exercise to achieve weight loss goals
What is the cost?
As the intraoperative gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure, the associated costs are lower.
A portion of the costs may also be covered by some private health insurance policies and you may also be eligible to access your Superannuation funds due to the overall associated resultant health benefits.
Please call our Sydney GI Surgery team to arrange for an appointment with Dr Ozmen to discuss your needs and for an accurate assessment of the cost involved.
Preparation for / and life after a gastric balloon procedure
It’s important to understand that unlike surgical weight loss procedures, the gastric balloon is a short term temporary measure to help achieve your weight loss goals and is only successful when undertaken together with a long term healthy living plan that includes diet and exercise as well as changes to overall behaviours and eating habits. Without a commitment to adopting new lifestyle practices the result will be that any weight lost will be regained. Regular follow up appointments during the 6 month period after the gastric balloon procedure are also necessary.
The balloon is inserted under light sedation and you will be able to return home on the same day of the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home and care for you for 24 hours post procedure and may have a sore throat as the balloon is inserted through the mouth.
Full recovery and return to work can be expected within 3 days.