What you can expect from the gastric balloon operation.

Updated: Apr 8



Gastric balloon


The procedure

The intragastric balloon procedure is done in the endoscopy unit . You'll be sedated for the procedure.

During the procedure, the doctor advances a thin tube (catheter) loaded with the intragastric balloon down your throat into your stomach. Next, the doctor advances an endoscope — a flexible tube with a camera attached — down your throat into your stomach. The camera allows your doctor to see the balloon as he or she fills it with saline.

The procedure takes about a half-hour. You can normally go home one to two hours after the procedure is finished.

After the procedure

You can have small amounts of clear liquids starting about six hours after the procedure. The liquid diet generally continues until the start of the second week, when you can start eating soft foods. You'll probably be able to start eating regular food around three weeks after the insertion of the intragastric balloon. Gastric balloons are left in place for 6 months to 1 year and are then removed using an endoscope. At that time, a new balloon may be placed, or not, depending on the plan determined by you and your doctor.

You'll also meet with members of your medical team, such as your nutritionist and psychologist, frequently after your procedure.

Results

A gastric balloon can make you feel more full faster than you normally would when eating, which often means you'll eat less. One reason may be that the intragastric balloon slows down the time it takes to empty the stomach. Another reason may be that the balloon seems to change levels of hormones that control appetite.

The amount of weight you lose also depends on how much you can change your lifestyle habits including diet and exercise. Based on a summary of currently available treatments, loss of about 7% to 15% of body weight is typical during the six months after intragastric balloon placement. Total excess weight loss ranges from 30% to 47%. As with other procedures and surgeries that lead to significant weight loss, the intragastric balloon may help improve or resolve conditions often related to being overweight, including:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease

  • Heart disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Osteoarthritis (joint pain)

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High cholesterol


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