HOW DOES A GASTRIC BALLOON WORK?
Similar to a band it restricts the amount of food eaten by occupying the space inside the stomach. It is a rugby-ball sized balloon which is inserted by endoscopy into the stomach and filled with fluid. It can be left internally for 6 months and then removed endoscopically following this period of time.
As depicted in the video above, balloon insertion is an endoscopic procedure. Firstly an endoscope is passed through the gullet into the stomach to check that there are no medical contraindications such as severe inflammation or a large hiatus hernia. The deflated balloon is then passed through and inflated with liquid coloured with blue dye. A final check with an endoscope is done prior to detaching the balloon to lie free within the stomach.
This is a very simple, non-invasive procedure which carries the same minor risks of an endoscopy and can be performed under sedation without the need for an anaesthetic. There is a very rare theoretical risk of balloon rupture, which would lead to the blue dye escaping and colouring urine blue/green. If this occurs, the ruptured balloon is removed endoscopically.
Gastric Balloon Package
- Gastric balloon package from £3950
- Includes insertion and removal
- Includes 6 month follow up with surgeon and dietician
The balloon most commonly used is the Allergan Orbera™ System which is designed to remain within the stomach for 6 months after which it has to be removed. It is a very good option for those motivated to return to their usual dietary and exercise patterns prior to their weight gain. It is also used as a staged approach for individuals with a high BMI to allow weight loss and a reduction of their risk prior to considering a more permanent weight loss operation.
Because of the space occupying effect within the stomach, it is very difficult to have any solids in the first 1-2 weeks following surgery. Liquid however is very important, and individuals are encouraged to drink copious amounts of fluid only for the first few days following insertion. It is not uncommon to feel slightly nauseous in the first few days post-insertion.