Over the last few years, interest in bariatric surgery has been growing fast. More and more people decide to have a surgery instead of yo-yo dieting or spending long hours in a gym.
The gastric balloon is considered one of the most preferred choices. The main reason why people tend to choose the gastric balloon is that it can be removed at any point of treatment. This is optional for those who want to prepare for the further bariatric surgery. Weight loss achieved with the gastric balloon is more physiological. Firstly, there is no need for gastrointestinal tract reconstruction. Secondly, the gastric balloon creates a permanent feeling of fullness, and as a result you consume less food. Additionally, now we are able to suggest one-year gastric balloon implantation that provides tighter weight control and greater weight loss.
How is the gastric balloon inserted?
The gastric balloon procedure is mostly restrictive. This means that gastric volume will be minimized without reconstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. During the surgery a soft silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach. In order to prevent any complications, it will be done with endoscopic assistance. After that, the balloon will be filled with sterile saline or other solution.
After the procedure
Although the insertion of the gastric balloon is undemanding, the first weeks will require patience and determination. At first, you will need to get used to a feeling of fullness in the stomach. Sometimes symptoms such as nausea and pain may accompany recovery. In such cases, do not hesitate to ask a doctor to give you a prescription for medications to help treat these side effects. In addition, after the surgery you will have to make substantial changes in your nutritional behaviour. For the first 3-5 days you will be allowed to consume only small portions of liquids. Later, step-by-step, solid food will be added back into your diet.
Sometimes it is hard to estimate the volume of the gastric balloon, so you might need an adjustment. If you feel hungry, or if you have any uncomfortable sensations in the abdominal area, arrange a meeting with your doctor.
Types of gastric balloons. There are two systems available in our clinic – Allergan and Spatz gastric balloon systems. The Allergan balloon is inserted for a period of 6 months, while the Spatz balloon can be removed from the stomach after one year. Moreover, the Spatz one-year balloon can be refilled if the process of weight loss stops.
Gastric balloon is inserted temporarily. Depending on the type of balloon you choose, you will be asked to visit our clinic after 6 months (Allergan balloon) or one year (Spatz balloon) and the gastroenterologist will remove the balloon.
No surgery is risk free – it is very important to understand that and take some precautions. Most likely, you will feel some gastrointestinal symptoms after the gastric balloon is inserted. It might include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Rarely, the gastric balloon may initiate the formation of a peptic ulcer, gastro-esophageal reflux, or gastric perforation. On the other hand, you do not need to worry about it too much. Some of these complications are extremely rare, and doctors make enormous efforts to reduce them to zero.
After the gastric balloon procedure, it is expected that you will lose from 16 % to 23 % of your start weight*. When the gastric balloon is removed, the maintenance of weight highly depends on how you have changed your diet and physical habits during the period of treatment. For the 6-month balloon, it is estimated that only one third of patients reach long-term weight loss, while the larger portion of patients fall back into old habits. On the other hand, clinical studies of one-year gastric balloon patients revealed more encouraging results.