Gastric balloon surgery
One of the most popular weight loss surgery choices is the gastric balloon. The main reason why people tend to prefer the gastric balloon is that it is not permanent and can be removed at any point of treatment. Sometimes the gastric balloon is inserted to prepare for further bariatric surgery. Weight loss achieved with this method is more physiological. Firstly, the gastrointestinal tract remains the same. Secondly, a permanent feeling of fullness is created, and consequently less food is consumed. Additionally, now we are able to suggest one-year gastric balloon implantation that provides tighter weight control and greater weight loss.
How is the gastric balloon inserted?
The gastric balloon procedure is mostly restrictive, that means the volume of the stomach is decreased without reconstructing the gastrointestinal tract. Your surgeon inserts a soft silicone balloon into the stomach during the procedure. In order to prevent any complications, the operation is done with endoscopic guidance. After that, the balloon is filled with sterile saline or other solution.
Types of gastric balloons.
In our clinic we can offer two gastric balloon systems – Allergan and Spatz. The main difference is the period of time it can stay in your stomach – the Allergan balloon is inserted for a period of 6 months, while the Spatz balloon can stay in the stomach for one year. Moreover, the Spatz one-year balloon can be refilled if the process of weight loss would stop.
Since the gastric balloon is inserted temporarily, you will be asked to visit our clinic again, depending on the type of the balloon inserted. The gastroenterologist will remove the balloon after 6 months (Allergan balloon) or one year (Spatz balloon).
After the procedure
Although the insertion process of the gastric balloon is not complicated, the first weeks will demand patience and determination. At first, it will be necessary to get used to a feeling of satiety. Sometimes nausea and pain may be felt during recovery, so in such cases, do not hesitate to ask a doctor to give you a prescription for medications to help relieve side effects. Furthermore, after the procedure you will have to make important changes in your eating habits. For the first 3-5 days you will be able to consume only small portions of liquids. Later, solid food will be introduced back into your diet gradually.
It is very important to understand that all surgeries involve some risk and take some precautions. Most commonly, after the gastric balloon is inserted, patients might feel some gastrointestinal symptoms. They might be nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Rarely, the gastric balloon may initiate gastric perforation, formation of a peptic ulcer or gastro-esophageal reflux. On the other hand, you should not worry about it too much. Doctors make huge efforts to reduce complications to zero and some of the complications are extremely rare.
It is anticipated that the patient will lose from 16% to 23% of the start weight after the surgery. When the gastric balloon is removed, the sustentation of weight greatly depends on how the patient has changed their diet and developed physical habits during the period of treatment. For the 6-month balloon, approximately only one third of patients reach long-term weight loss, while the bigger part of patients return to old habits. On the other hand, clinical studies of one-year gastric balloon patients revealed more encouraging results.