How does the gastric balloon work?

After insertion of the gastric balloon it will be filled with saline or air. The balloon will partially fill the stomach in order to help a person to feel less hungry, so the person can eat smaller portions and still feel satisfied by the quantity.

 

How is the procedure done?

The balloon is inserted in the stomach through the mouth without the need for surgery. The doctor inserts an endoscope camera (gastroscope) into the stomach. If no abnormalities are observed, then the balloon is inserted through the mouth and down in the oesophagus to the stomach. When inside the stomach, the balloon is filled with a sterile saline solution/air through a small filling tube affixed to the balloon. Once it is filled, the doctor carefully removes the tube by pulling on the outer end, after which the balloon lies freely in the stomach.

This procedure is performed by a qualified specialised gastroenterologist and trained care personnel.

Placement of the balloon takes approximately 20 minutes, after which the patient will be monitored for roughly 1 hour and then the patient will be discharged.

 

Who can be offered the gastric balloon?

The gastric balloon is designed to help with weight loss in people who ideally have between 10 and 30 kg to lose. The patient must have a BMI of 27 or above in order to be offered the gastric balloon.

It is also used for people who are not suited to other forms of weight loss surgery. Use of the gastric balloon can contribute to reducing the weight for surgery, so that risks are reduced in connection with surgical procedures on overweight patients.

At the consultation the doctor will guide you through the 3 different types of gastric balloons and advise you as to what type is best suited to you.

 

How long does the gastric balloon remain in the stomach?

The gastric balloon can be placed in the stomach for a period of 6 months (12 months for the Spatz balloon). Should your doctor recommend use of the balloon for more than 6 months, then it is necessary for the balloon to be replaced with a new one.

 

What happens if the gastric balloon spontaneously empties?

The doctor will place a dye in the balloon called methylene blue. This will help you to identify an early deflation or leakage, as it will change the colour of your urine to green. Should this happen, then you must immediately notify the clinic so that the balloon can be removed.

 

How is the gastric balloon removed?

The gastric balloon is removed in the same way as it was inserted: via the oesophagus and mouth. When using an endoscopic camera the doctor inserts a catheter through the mouth and into the stomach. The balloon will then be punctured and emptied. Once the balloon is emptied, it can be gripped and removed.

How much can I lose with the gastric balloon?

It is important for you to understand that the gastric balloon is a tool to support weight loss and must be used together with diet, exercise and a follow-up programme. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on who closely you follow your diet and long-term lifestyle changes. Read more about GastriBall’s scientifically documented effects here!

 

What are the possible side effects associated with the gastric balloon?

It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach can cause nausea or vomiting for a couple days after it is inserted.  Our clinic will prescribe medication that will help you to minimise these potential side effects, but they can occur during the first couple days.

There is a possibility that you will only lose a little part of your weight. Naturally, this depends on your commitment in relation to diet and your lifestyle.

 

Will I be able to notice the balloon in my stomach?

There will be discomfort the first couple days after the procedure. After this, the balloon will give you a feeling of fullness.

 

How long does it take to recover after the operation?

You should plan at least three days’ inactivity in order for you to get over the procedure. After this, you will be able to return to normal activity, but it also depends on how fast your body gets used to the balloon.

 

Does the gastric balloon require follow-up with my doctor after the procedure?

The follow-up programme is decisive for the effectiveness of the balloon’s effect. You will be contacted by our trained personnel during the first 6-12 months, while the balloon is in place, and after this every other month once the balloon is removed, for an additional 6 months. During this period your progress will be evaluated and you will be fully informed about the principles for health, nutrition and exercise, which will give you a foundation for long-term success.

 

Will the gastric balloon limit my activities?

During the first week after the procedure you should not plan any strenuous activities. Once your body has adapted to the balloon, then you can continue your normal activities. It is strongly recommended that you start a regular exercise programme in order to achieve better results.

 

Can I drink alcohol?

Alcohol in moderate quantities is fine.

 

Are there any dietary restrictions?

There are no dietary restrictions, even though you will not want to eat as much as you normally do. However, if you eat fatty foods or candy, you may feel unwell. Excessive eating, while the balloon is in place, can be hazardous.