If you want to lose weight, you must eat less and move more. However, sometimes, you need a little bit more than that. Surgery is one option, but that is permanent and life changing. The alternative, therefore, is to opt for the gastric balloon. This is non-permanent and has far fewer complications as well.
Placing a Gastric Balloon
- An examination of the stomach will be performed through the endoscopic camera.
- The balloon will be placed, moving through the mouth and esophagus, so long as no abnormalities are seen during examination.
- The balloon is in its smallest form, being deflated, and its pliable, soft elastomer, silicone material makes it tiny.
- A throat spray is used to numb the throat and suppress the gagging reflex, so that you can easily swallow the camera.
- You may be given some medication to relax the models.
- Once the balloon is in place, it will be filled using a sterile saline solution through a catheter attached to it.
- The catheter will be removed by pulling on it.
- The balloon seals itself, after which it floats freely in the stomach cavity.
- The entire procedure takes around 30 minutes to complete. You will stay in the physician’s office for around half an hour, and then you can go home.
How Long it Stays in Place
- A gastric balloon can stay in the stomach for six months.
- The stomach’s acid content will affect the material of the balloon, slowly deflating it.
- If weight loss needs to continue, a new balloon has to be put in place.
- You may be given oral medication to give you less stomach acid, as this reduces balloon damage and stomach irritation.
Removing the Gastric Balloon
- An endoscopic procedure is used to remove the balloon.
- A catheter will be inserted through the mouth and esophagus.
- The balloon will be punctured and deflated.
- The balloon is grasped and removed.
Possible Side Effects and Complications
- Minor bleeding.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- A feeling of seasickness.
- Gastric discomfort, although this is usually only temporary.
- Having a heavy feeling in the stomach.
- Back pain or stomach pain.
- Acid reflux and indigestion.
- A ruptured balloon, although this risk is theoretical only as it has never happened. If it would happen, the balloon should be naturally expelled and pass through the bowel.
- So long as you don’t have any adverse reactions or serious complications, you should be able to return home within about half an hour of having the procedure completed.
- You will only be able to eat liquids for the first few days, slowly moving on to soft and pureed food, and finally to solid food.
- The at home recovery time is usually just two to three days, although you may need a little bit more time if your stomach does not like having a foreign object in it.
- The balloon can make you feel nauseous, but it usually lasts only a few days.
As you can see, the gastric balloon is reasonably straightforward and free of serious complications.