Gastric Balloon Advice
Understanding your options, Risks, and More
Am I eligible?
There are many factors to consider for eligibility but we generally offer the gastric balloon procedure to those with a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 27.
We are very honest about side-effects and always prepare our patients for a difficult few days after the balloon procedure as we firmly believe that being prepared helps you to tolerate the symptoms better.
The side effects are your body’s natural reaction to this new ‘foreign object’ in your stomach. Although everyone is different, side effects usually last 3-4 days and most people feel back to normal soon after.
The gastric balloon is the safest weight loss procedure with the lowest risk of complications. There are no incisions so no wounds, scars or internal changes to your stomach or digestive system.
As with any procedure, however, there is a chance of experiencing a complication and no matter how small the risk, we need to make you aware.
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Gastric Balloon FAQ's
The balloon is inserted through a minimally invasive procedure, usually using an endoscope that is passed through the mouth and into the stomach.
If you are unable to swallow the balloon, alternative weight loss methods may be recommended.
The recovery time after gastric balloon placement is typically minimal, with most people able to resume normal activities within a few days.
The balloon is filled with saline solution during the procedure, and it usually takes about 20-30 minutes to fill the balloon.
How much weight you will lose and how quickly varies from person to person and will depend on how well you adapt to the gastric balloon and how much you are prepared to adjust your lifestyle, eating habits, and activity levels. Experience has shown, however, that 70-80% of weight loss typically occurs during the first three months of treatment*
In a similar way to insertion, the 6 and 12 month balloons are removed during a 15-20 minute endoscopy procedure. The balloon is punctured and emptied and the deflated balloon is removed through the mouth. Again you will be conscious but sedated so won’t feel any discomfort. You will remain in the clinic for observation until the doctor discharges you but this is usually only for a very short time. You should not experience any side effects other than a possible sore throat for a day or two.
This can differ but most people say they can’t feel the balloon as such, rather they have a feeling of fullness or heaviness in their stomach. Some patients say however that when they engage in vigorous activity e.g. running, they can feel some movement. There is no discomfort, just a different sensation.
We know that when you decide to have a gastric balloon procedure, you want to start your journey as quickly as possible. Although the gastric balloon is a safe non-surgical procedure, it is still a medical procedure with strict eligibility criteria and contraindications. We are asked whether the consultation can be on the day of the procedure and even whether a consultation is required at all. We need you to see a doctor at consultation to ensure there is nothing in your medical history that would suggest the balloon is not a suitable option. Depending on clinic and consultant availability, we can normally book you a consultation in about a week and then we just need to leave a minimum of 5 days in between consultation and procedure to give you time to consider your decision and for us to complete your booking administration.