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.