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This page will provide you with information about gastric balloon procedures. For further information you should speak to your consultant.
A gastric balloon can also be referred to as an intragastric balloon, and it is a procedure that helps people to lose weight. This is achieved by inserting a balloon into the stomach, which means it is unable to hold as much food or drink as normal. As a result of this the patient feels fuller quicker, eats less and loses weight. The balloon itself is very small and soft, and sits inside the stomach. It is inserted via an endoscope – a flexible, thin telescope placed inside the mouth and into the stomach. The balloon is then filled with a saline solution that fills the stomach – leaving just enough room for small meals to be eaten before the patient feels full. A gastric balloon, however, is only a temporary method of weight loss and will be removed after 6 months. It is often used as a precursor to other forms of weight loss, like gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery.
It is a short procedure with most patients able to leave hospital the same day or the day after the procedure. Usually lasting only 20 to 30 minutes long, the patient will be placed under sedation for this minor procedure. It may sometimes be the case that the balloon needs to be removed before the 6 month period. It can sometimes occur that it needs to be removed within the first few days, if the patient feels nauseous or is experiencing extreme vomiting with little sign of improvement. Hospital staff will provide information on aftercare and sometimes give dietary advice for a gastric balloon procedure.