Gastric Balloon: Brief Intro

Gastric Balloon Surgery, also known as the intragastric balloon surgery, requires no incision and is temporary in nature. The concept allows the patient to lose weight and reach a weight goal. It requires that the patient makes major life changes after the surgery in order to maintain the weight loss. This procedure uses a balloon to promote a feeling of fullness and is not yet approved in the United States. It is available in Canada, Mexico, South America and Australia.

With Gastric Balloon Procedure:

  • Weight loss will occur.
  • The patient will feel fullness and reduce the amount of food that they intake.
  • The procedure is temporary.
  • Recovery time is virtually non-existent.
  • The patient must make life and dietary changes in order to maintain any weight loss established.
  • The weight loss surgery only requires that the patient has a BMI of 27 rather than the standard of 40 BMI to qualify.
  • Weight loss can be overwhelming and cravings will still be present.
  • Feelings of hunger may still be present though the stomach will feel full.

How Gastric Balloon Works

Gastric Balloon Surgery, technical illustrationThe Gastric Balloon procedure requires no incisions and is performed under a general anesthesia or sedation. The entire procedure will take only 20 or 30 minutes to complete. There is no stay in the hospital for patients and the average time for release after the procedure is three hours. The throat is numbed and a balloon is inserted into the stomach and inflated the desired amount. The balloon is inflated with a saline solution using a catheter. The catheter is removed and the balloon uses a self-healing valve to close it up. The balloon floats freely in the stomach and is too large to move through to the bowel.

Amount of Weight Loss to Expect

The Gastric Balloon allows patients to lose as much as 35% of their excess body weight over a six-month period. This is a slow loss and not excessive by most standards and compared to the lap band or the gastric bypass. There is little evidence that shows a grave change in comorbidity resolution with this type of procedure. The weight loss is considered to be a starting point for those individuals that simply can’t get past the point necessary to see great progress.