What is a Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon is a short-term weight loss solution that makes an individual feel full quicker after a small meal. The procedure is conducted by inserting a soft silicone balloon inside the stomach, which will obviously be smaller than the stomach. A gastric balloon is meant to reduce hunger, enabling an individual to consume less food. This goes a long way in assisting the patient to lose more weight. For the best results, a gastric balloon should be combined with a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits. If you are considering about getting a gastric balloon, this article will clarify everything for you so that you can make a wise decision.
What Happens During a Gastric Balloon Procedure?
During a gastric balloon procedure, a soft silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach via the mouth and esophagus. During this exercise, your physician uses a tube fitted with a camera and light to insert the balloon. You will be offered with a mild anesthetic during the procedure to reduce any feeling of discomfort. However, the procedure is painless and only takes about 20 minutes and you will be discharged the same day.
The gastric balloon is removed after six months because it may perforate or turn out to be ineffective after this point. Although the amount of weight lost after a gastric balloon procedure varies, the average excess weight lost is between 20% and 30%.
Apart from this operation, a gastric balloon can also be attached to the stomach through a gastric balloon pill capsule. This new procedure entails swallowing a capsule attached to a tube, and then inflating the swallowed balloon through the tube. After it has achieved the required pressure, the balloon is then removed. This procedure can help place up to three balloons in the stomach to speed up the weight loss process over the treatment period. After the treatment, the balloons will then be eliminated from the stomach through an endoscopic procedure.
What are the Benefits of a Gastric Balloon?
The main benefit of a gastric balloon is that it helps you lose weight. Having a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and stroke.
Another advantage of a gastric balloon is that it helps you avoid invasive surgery and reduces any risks associated with it. The procedure only takes a few minutes, meaning it is also less expensive than surgical solutions.
Is a Gastric Balloon a Good Option for You?
A gastric balloon is an incredible option for you if you have a BMI of between 30 and 40, you have never had any stomach or esophageal surgery, and are willing to commit yourself to achieve optimal health by making permanent lifestyle changes.
Despite this, a gastric balloon might not be fit for everyone that has excess weight. It is for this reason that your physician will have to do a screening test to ensure that the procedure will be of benefit to you.
What are the Risks?
Although most people do not experience any complications after a gastric balloon procedure, it is wise to have a good understanding of the potential risks. Perforation and bleeding can happen when the balloon is being inserted or removed.
Apart from this, nausea, vomiting, and gastric discomfort are common side effects after the gastric balloon placement. However, they can be easily treated using oral medication. You may also feel some heaviness in the abdominal area, gastro-esophageal reflux, indigestion, and back pain. If you happen to experience these symptoms, you should consider reaching out to your doctor as soon as possible.
Another thing that can happen is deflation or leakage. If this takes place, the balloon and its contents could get into your digestive system, causing a blockage. However, these complications are quite rare, as long as the procedure is done correctly.
A gastric balloon is a weight loss procedure that entails placing a silicone balloon in your stomach, so that you can feel fuller much faster. This helps you consume less food, enabling you to lose weight a lot quicker. This procedure is a good option for those individuals that are overweight or obese and exercise and diet have not brought them positive results. Although a gastric balloon looks like an easy option, it requires commitment to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. You have to make certain healthy changes to your diet and current lifestyle. Doing this will ensure you have a successful gastric balloon procedure.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.