What is a gastric balloon?
A gastric balloon is a type of weight loss treatment that is non-surgical in nature, which means there are no surgically decisions or scars involved with placing or removing a gastric balloon. The procedure involves the placement of an air-filled or saline-filled balloon into the stomach. When fully inflated, the balloon takes up a large amount of space in the stomach, which means that people are more easily full when they consume food.
Having a gastric balloon is a quicker way to lose weight compared with diet and exercise. Many people will have tried eating a healthy diet and carrying out regular exercise and still remain the same weight or even heavier. Many patients, however, are not keen on the idea of a surgical weight-loss procedure such as a gastric band, gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve. A gastric balloon is an entirely non-invasive treatment for patients with BMI between 35 to 40 or who may have a very high BMI with certain medical conditions that may be class them as too high risk to undergo an invasive surgical weight loss procedure.
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The gastric balloon is a temporary solution for achieving significant weight loss over the course of 6-9 months. The balloon cannot stay in indefinitely. The balloon will need to be removed at six months to prevent the risk of balloon-related complications from occurring. During the period the gastric balloon is placed in your stomach, you will receive expert nutritional and dietary input to ensure your eating habits improve so that when the balloon is removed, you do not develop rebound weight gain. Our expert team will monitor you closely to ensure the risk of gaining weight is minimised as much as possible.
Compared with more invasive types of weight loss surgery such as a gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve, a gastric balloon does not involve any surgical alternation of the stomach so that once the balloon is removed, the stomach will return to its normal size and shape.
What are the benefits of a gastric balloon?
Having gastric balloon treatment is designed to help you lose weight and minimise the risks associated with certain medical conditions, including Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, obstructive sleep apnoea and cancer. Successful weight loss using a balloon can minimise the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hips and knees due to reduced forces being transmitted through the joints.
Being overweight or obese can result in many people developing a low mood which may lead to symptoms of depression. People may begin to withdraw from any types of social encounters. Successful weight loss with gastric balloon treatment can lead to a significant boost in one’s overall mental health and emotional well-being.
Temporary gastric balloon treatment can produce significant weight loss for morbidly obese patients who may then be in a better state of health for future weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery.
Am I Suitable?
Suitability for a gastric balloon will be determined by your body mass index (BMI). Most patients eligible for the treatment will need to have a BMI of 27 or higher. In some cases, your doctor may advise having a gastric balloon in advance of a future weight loss surgical procedure but in most cases is effective as an alternative treatment for patients who are unable or unwilling to undergo weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery requires patients to meet the minimum weight requirements to qualify for treatment. Before any type of weight loss procedure, you may be advised to have a psychological assessment to ensure you are in the best possible state of mental health prior to having a gastric balloon.
A gastric balloon may not be considered suitable if you have previously had surgery on the stomach which may include surgery for treating reflux symptoms. Anti-reflux surgery and many types of gastric surgery alter the anatomy of the stomach, which may make the passage of a gastric balloon difficult, if not impossible. Other conditions which may preclude a patient from having treatment include hiatus hernia, which is larger than 5 cm. Chronic liver disease may interfere with blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. Certain haematological conditions affect blood clotting and also increase the risk of complications. A gastric balloon is not recommended in either of these cases. Women who may be pregnant or breastfeeding or are contemplating getting pregnant should wait until they have completed breastfeeding before considering having a gastric balloon.
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What does the gastric balloon procedure involve?
All gastric balloon procedures are performed at our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone. Gastric balloon insertion can be carried out with intravenous sedation or with a general anaesthetic. Your doctor will advise the most suitable option at your consultation. Once you are appropriately sedated for the procedure, the doctor will first perform an endoscopic examination of your oesophagus and stomach to rule out any local pathology. The gastric balloon is then gently introduced to the mouth and passes through the throat and oesophagus before it enters the stomach. Once the doctor is assured the gastric balloon is in the correct position with endoscopic visualisation, it is filled with sterile saline solution. As the gastric balloon expands, it begins to take up space in the stomach. This means when you eat food, you are more likely to feel full much quicker. You will notice the quantity of food you eat will reduce as your portion sizes become smaller. The volume of a gastric balloon is approximately 700 to 750ml. The lining of the gastric balloon is made from a highly resistant type of medical-grade silicone that can effectively resist the effects of naturally produced acidic stomach secretions.
The gastric balloon is most commonly left in the stomach for between 4 to 6 months, depending on your goals for treatment. Most people can expect to lose, on average, up to 3 to 4 times the weight that can be lost with natural methods of weight loss, including diet and exercise. The priority should be consuming healthy natural foods, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avocado, seeds and nuts. We would advise against eating large amounts of sugary and fatty foods. This will ensure you can achieve excellent results from gastric balloon treatment in London.
After six months, you will need to have the gastric balloon removed. Your doctor will provide ongoing post-procedure support as part of your gastric balloon procedure to ensure any weight you successfully lose with a gastric balloon is kept off for the long term. Your doctor will focus on emphasising healthy lifestyle choices which can be maintained.
Gastric balloon removal is a straightforward procedure that takes no more than 15 minutes. The procedure for removing air-filled and saline-filled gastric balloons is slightly different, although both involve firstly deflating the gastric balloon before being extracted via the mouth. Some types of gastric balloons are designed to self-deflate after a certain period of time before naturally working their way out of the body via the anus.
A gastric balloon should be viewed as a temporary treatment as the procedure is not designed to alter the anatomy of the stomach. The procedure for both in session and removal of a gastric balloon does not involve making any surgical incisions with no resulting scars. Both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery are considered permanent methods of weight loss surgery as they alter the structure of the stomach and are designed for morbidly obese patients.
How much does a gastric balloon cost?
Our doctors are experienced in both the BIB gastric balloon and the Orbera365 gastric balloon.
BIB gastric balloon costs £4250, and the Orbera365 balloon costs £4500.
Both types of blue include endoscopy and sedation. The cost of treatment includes both insertion and removal. Medications are also included in the cost of treatment.
What are the risks of a gastric balloon?
A gastric balloon is a non-invasive procedure as it does not involve incisions being made. Despite this, there are certain risks associated with the gastric balloon in session. Common side-effects experienced after the procedure include sore throat, heartburn, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. In less than two per cent of cases, a patient may not be able to tolerate the balloon in the stomach or may constantly wretch. If this does not settle with anti-sickness medication, the balloon may need to be removed sooner than desired.
Potentially serious complications include rupture of the balloon, bowel obstruction or perforation, gastrointestinal bleeding and sedation complications. Fortunately, these are all rare complications when performed by appropriately experienced specialists at Centre for Surgery in London.
Why choose Centre for Surgery for gastric balloon in London?
Centre for Surgery is the leading weight loss clinic in the UK and is home to some of the best weight loss specialists in London. Our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone has top-of-the-line medical equipment to help you achieve the best results after your non-surgical weight loss procedure.
What are the benefits of a gastric balloon?Gastric balloon treatment enables patience to lose significant amounts of weight in a short space of time. This can lead to a significant boost in both mental and physical health. Weight loss achieved with a gastric balloon can help to reduce the risk of certain medical conditions developing, including stroke and heart disease. The procedure can also help to control certain conditions such as Type II diabetes. Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea may achieve a complete cure with treatment due to substantial weight loss. The risk of cancer may also be lessened through treatment.
Weight loss means patients feel much lighter, reducing the load through the body's major joints, including the hips and knees. This helps to minimise the risk of osteoarthritis developing prematurely. Patients who are significantly overweight or obese are at risk of wear and tear in the bones and joints of the lower limbs, which can affect mobility.
Women who have had problems with infertility may also find their fertility improving with weight loss from the gastric balloon. The risk of complications during pregnancy, including miscarriages, is markedly reduced with weight loss. Gastric balloon procedures can lead to a significant boost in self-confidence and emotional well-being.
People who are significantly overweight or obese often suffer from anxiety and depression with a diminished body image. Many people often avoid certain social situations outside the home or may be unable to undertake physical exercise without fear of feeling self-conscious. Being overweight can also affect the ability to form romantic relationships.
These issues can all affect overall mental health. A gastric balloon procedure does not involve invasive surgery. No incisions are performed, and no scars are associated with treatment. Gastric balloons are a reversible type of treatment as they do not permanently alter the structure of the stomach. This is in distinction to gastric sleeve surgery or a gastric bypass which involves permanent alterations to the size and shape of the stomach.
What are the success rates associated with a gastric balloon?A gastric balloon is considered a highly successful non-invasive treatment for significant and sustained weight loss. Patients often find that most of the weight loss occurs during the first three months after gastric balloon insertion. After this period, healthy lifestyle modifications with an improved diet and regular physical exercise help to keep the weight off. Once the balloon has been removed after six months, our expert team will provide ongoing support to manage your weight loss.
It is accepted that many people can lose up to one-third of any excess weight. Up to 20% of patients who have a gastric balloon inserted may not notice significant changes ,in weight although this is related to inadequate dietary modifications after gastric balloon insertion. The key to achieving success with a gastric balloon procedure is to use the time whilst the balloon is in the stomach to make the necessary lifestyle modifications.
How much weight can I lose with a gastric balloon?The amount of weight loss achievable with a gastric balloon will differ between people. Generally, most people can expect to lose up to one third of their excess body weight after having a gastric balloon inserted. People can lose between 12 to 18 kg with a gastric balloon. Most of this weight loss will occur during the first three months after treatment. The key is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits with a healthy diet and regular physical exercise to get the most out of the gastric balloon procedure. We would recommend avoiding highly caloric foods high in fat and sugar. Whilst it is rare for those with a gastric balloon not to notice any weight loss, the key to achieving success with treatment is to modify dietary intake that is sustainable after the gastric balloon is removed.
Will I be able to tolerate a gastric balloon?In most cases, people should not feel uncomfortable after the gastric balloon has been positioned in the stomach. In some cases, people may experience mild abdominal discomfort immediately after treatment which can last up to 24 hours. The gastric balloon is designed to take up space within the stomach, which often results in temporary symptoms of acid reflux in the early phase after insertion. The symptoms can be minimised by reducing your portion intake and by taking recommended anti-reflux medication prescribed by your doctor. Common side effects after gastric balloon insertion include abdominal cramping as the volume of the balloon will stretch the stomach wall leading to spasmodic discomfort. This symptom will rapidly resolve by taking the anti-spasmodic medicine prescribed by your doctor and should resolve by three days after treatment. Nausea and vomiting are recognised side-effects of having a gastric balloon. This is a common symptom immediately after fitting a gastric balloon and may last for up to 2 to 3 days after the procedure. Fortunately, the symptoms can be controlled with anti-sickness medication.
How long does a gastric balloon last?Gastric balloons are a temporary procedure and are fully reversible. There are two types of gastric balloons used at Centre for Surgery, one lasting six months and the other lasting 12 months before they need to be removed. Gastric balloon removal is a straightforward procedure which uses sedation and endoscopy. The procedure takes no more than 15 minutes to perform. Patients should have a soft diet for two days before removing a gastric balloon and should not eat anything 12 hours before the procedure. The doctor will use an endoscope to pass into the stomach via the mouth.
A specialised needle will be used to puncture the balloon. The saline solution is allowed to safely pass into the intestines. The balloon is fully deflated prior to being gently removed via the mouth. There is no requirement to have a general anaesthetic for gastric balloon removal.
Is a gastric balloon permanent?Gastric balloons are not designed to be a permanent method of treatment. There are several different designs of gastric balloons with differences in how long they can remain in the stomach before requiring removal. Once the gastric balloon has been removed, most people can successfully adapt to a new healthy lifestyle without needing continued gastric balloon treatment. Once the gastric balloon has been removed, some patients may wish to have further treatment in the future, and this is perfectly possible.
In a small number of cases, a gastric balloon may be fitted in advance of a weight loss procedure as an initial treatment to induce early weight loss prior to substantial weight loss with a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. Both of these weight loss surgical procedures are considered permanent because they involve permanent alterations to the size and shape of the stomach.
What is the best way to maintain my gastric balloon?Looking after your gastric balloon means adhering to a sensible diet. It is important to avoid eating certain types of food that could create sharp edges against the balloon's surface, such as nuts and seeds and fish containing lots of bones. If the gastric balloon is perforated, it will gradually deflate and then pass lower down into the stomach or upper part of the bowel. This could potentially result in bowel obstruction, which involves symptoms of severe abdominal pain and projectile vomiting. A gastric balloon is used at Centre for Surgery and comes in different varieties, with the first type lasting up to 6 months and the second type lasting up to 12 months. The gastric balloon should not be left in beyond the manufacturer's recommendation as the effects of stomach acid after this time may erode the balloon leading to its deflation.
Centre for Surgery is an expert centre for non-surgical weight loss procedures. Our doctors will be able to discuss the pros and cons of a gastric balloon to help you determine whether a gastric balloon is the most appropriate type of weight loss treatment for you. Schedule an appointment with us today to book a consultation with an expert specialist for a gastric balloon in London.
Why should I eat a healthy diet after having a gastric balloon?The key to getting the best results after gastric balloon treatment is modifying your dietary intake to maintain the significant weight loss achievable with the procedure. It is important to eat smaller meals regularly and avoid excessive snacking. There should be sufficient time between your evening meal and bedtime. Maintaining good hydration with plenty of water intake will help you to feel a sense of being fuller more quickly. We recommend avoiding sugary fizzy drinks and many types of confectionery containing large quantities of refined sugar. Many types of food may contribute to increased stomach acid production and should also be avoided. It is a good idea to keep a food diary to track what you eat daily.
What To Expect
We invite all patients considering having a gastric balloon to have a consultation with an expert gastroenterologist to determine suitability for the procedure. We recommend you ask your doctor as many questions as you need to build a comprehensive understanding of what the procedure involves and whether the procedure can address your goals for treatment. The doctor will explain the potential risks and complications of gastric balloon treatment and what to expect in the recovery phase. A medical history will be taken including any medicines you may be taking to determine your fitness for the gastric balloon procedure. If you are determined to be appropriate for the procedure, your patient coordinator will guide you through the steps to schedule your procedure. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us and we will be more than happy to assist you.
Before your procedure
Before the day of your gastric balloon procedure, you will have a pre-operative medical assessment by a member of our nursing team. We would recommend you avoid smoking for at least four weeks before surgery to minimise the risk of complications during and after the procedure. You should also avoid taking aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines. Preoperative fasting is required for gastric balloon insertion as the procedure involves intravenous sedation, which will make you feel sleepy during the procedure. You must avoid food for six I was before treatment and clear fluids up to 2 hours before. Clear fluids include still water, black tea and black coffee.
Once you are sedated for the procedure, the doctor will
Carry out an endoscopic examination to rule out any medical conditions affecting the oesophagus or stomach.
The endoscope will then be inserted with the deflated balloon attached through the mouth to place the balloon in the stomach. Once the balloon is in the correct position, it will be inflated with saline. The doctor will then detach the endoscope from the balloon and leave the balloon in its correct position. Gastric balloon in session takes approximately 30 minutes to carry out.
Gastric balloon insertion is performed as a day case which means you can go home later the same day. You will still be sleepy due to the sedation given, and you must be accompanied home by a friend or family member.
After your procedure
In the first few days after gastric balloon insertion, you should follow the instructions on what foods to eat to minimise discomfort. During the first 24 hours, a liquid diet is recommended, including soup without added solids, water and fruit juices. After this time you can eat a soft diet. By day 7, you can slowly introduce more solid foods and eventually, you can transition to a healthy diet consisting of all the recommended food groups. You should try to follow the dietary recommendations to ensure your results are maintained for the long term.
You should also maintain regular physical activity at least three times a week which may involve jogging, cycling or swimming. These activities will help you to keep your weight off. After having a gastric balloon, your doctor will prescribe medications to reduce stomach acid production. The first week after the procedure may result in you feeling mild nausea. It is important to take the anti-sickness medication for at least one week after the procedure to minimise the symptoms. Many patients may develop stomach cramps for a few days, and antispasmodic medications can help to suppress this. You will have access to our nursing team via phone or email if you have any questions or concerns. You can also arrange to see them in person to help alleviate your concerns.