The gastric balloon procedure consists of placing an inflatable balloon inside of your stomach, so it fills a great part of it. Having the full balloon taking up a significant part of the space inside of your stomach leaves less space of the food you eat. Thus, the gastric balloon will limit the amount of food you will eat on a daily basis as long as you have inside of you. The results from this non-surgical and effortless weight loss procedure mean you will lose weight without any dieting or exercising. A doctor places the gastric balloon inside of you and fills it up through a painless, quick procedure. The gastric balloon can help lose around 30lbs to 50lbs at the end of the 6 months’ time period it stays inside of you.
Who Can Get A Gastric Balloon?
Generally speaking, anyone that has a body mass index (BMI) of around 30 to 40 will benefit from the gastric balloon procedure. If they happen to find it extremely difficult to lose any weight through diet and exercise, the procedure will appeal to them. However, in order to undergo the non-surgical procedure that the gastric balloon is, you must not have undergone any type of bariatric surgery in the past. Bariatric surgeries change the structure of your stomach up until reducing its size. Said changes would prevent the proper application of the gastric balloon procedure.
Also know, you must be able and willing to commit to a healthier lifestyle after your gastric balloon procedure. The procedure will limit the amount of food you can eat for 6 months. After the doctor takes the balloon out it is up to you to maintain your new weight. Healthy eating and exercise are the way to go from there on out.
Gastric Balloon Procedure
The gastric balloon procedure is non-surgical, meaning that there will not be any incisions involved. Instead, the surgeon places the gastric balloon inside of you the same way you eat food, through your mouth. The deflated gastric balloon itself rests inside of a very tiny capsule little bigger than a regular pill. The doctor will lay the pill will to rest at the end of a very thin, long tube that will go inside your mouth. That’s right you will swallow the capsule while it is attached to the thin tube.
Think of the tube as a fishing line only that, instead of fishing you out, it will be for positioning and inflating the gastric balloon. The thin tube with the capsule attached to the end of it goes into your mouth and continue down your throat. The thin tube continues its way down the throat, towards the oesophagus, and down into lower oesophagal sphincter to enter the stomach. Once inside of it and firmly in position, the doctor starts to fill the balloon with saline solution through the thin tube. The balloon swells and becomes larger, several times its initial size.
The balloon becomes big enough that it will not be able to pass from the stomach to the small intestine. Thus, it will remain inside the stomach and bounce around back and forward inside of it freely. But, most importantly, the balloon will remain at full size, occupying a significant portion of the total capacity of your stomach. Which means, the balloon will effectively reduce how much food you can actually take on a daily basis. The restriction will help you lose between 30lbs to 50lbs of weight in the span of six months. After that period, the surgeon will safely remove the balloon out of the body.
Removal of Gastric Balloon Procedure
The gastric balloon procedure stays inflated and in place, occupying a sizeable amount of your stomach, for around 6 months tops. For that period of time, the amount of food you can actually consume will decrease notably. The balloon stays in place, making you feel like you are already very full. Even though the amount you just ate is nothing compared to the amount, you would have eaten otherwise.
When that time period of 6 months is up and passed, you will head back to the surgeon’s office to have the balloon taken out. To remove the balloon from your body, the surgeon introduces a thin tube very similar to the one used for inserting it. The tube once again goes into your mouth, down your throat, and follows till the end of the oesophagus to enter the stomach. When the thin tube enters the stomach and finally comes face to face with the gastric balloon living rent-free there for the last 6 months, it proceeds to deflate it. To do this, the thin tube takes out a tiny, retractable picturing blade from its tip and proceed to get it close and puncture the balloon.
The saline solution leaks slowly out form the puncture wound while the balloon rapidly decreases in size. Once it is all deflated, the balloon will easily pass the to the lower intestine. And it will be expelled from your body during your next bowel movement. And, don’t worry, the saline solution is not harmful to your body or interferes with your stomach in the slightest. Also, fear not, the thin tube also has a very tiny camera attached at the end of it. With it, the doctor can see exactly if they are puncturing the balloon. So, don’t worry about their cutting anything else.
After Your Gastric Balloon Procedure
For the few days following the placing of the gastric balloon is normal to fill strangely full on your stomach. That is just your body adjusting to the gastric balloon; after a week you will not even feel it is there. You should avoid solid food during that first week and drink lots of water. Avoid coffee, carbonated drinks, and ice cream as well. Refrain from engaging in any type of physical activity for the next 24 hours.
Past the first week, you can start eating with mild solid foods when your doctor instructs it. Porridges, very lean soups, and puréed fruits are all fine. When you are looking to have the balloon removed after the 6 months pass, make sure you don’t eat anything solid 24 hours prior to your appointment. Also, do not drink anything 12 hours prior to the removal as well. Following removal, stick to healthy eating habit and exercise to keep your new weight.
Gastric Balloon FAQ
Q: Does placing a gastric balloon leave any scars in my body?
A: No, not at all. The placing of the gastric balloon happens through the mouth; there is no incision involved.
Q: How much space in my stomach does the balloon take?
A: The balloon will take up to almost two-thirds of your stomach capacity, greatly reducing how much you can eat.
Q: Is it discomforting to have the balloon inside my stomach?
A: You will feel a bit strange and full during the week immediately after. This will fade by the second or third week after your body adapts and you will feel normal.