About Gastric Balloon Surgery
The gastric balloon procedure, also known as endoscopic intragastric balloon, is an alternative to bariatric surgery for people with lower body mass indexes. For 6 months, one to three inflated silicon balloons are placed in the stomach, making less room for food, and making you feel fuller, faster. They are, however, temporary and require a lifestyle change, education, and support to be successful.
Commonly asked questions about Gastric Balloon Surgery
Before undertaking any procedure, you will want to be confident in your knowledge. Find the details on Gastric Balloon Surgery here.
1. What is a Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloon procedures are a non-surgical weight loss option for people who have concerns about weight and have tried diet and exercise without success. The silicone or thin polymer film balloon is placed in the stomach endoscopically and then filled with saline or nitrogen. Some balloons, on the other hand, can be swallowed. The balloon takes up space in your stomach, allowing you to feel fuller for longer, eat less, and lose more weight. An intragastric balloon, like other weight-loss procedures, requires a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Permanent healthy changes to your diet and regular exercise are recommended to ensure the procedure’s long-term success.
2. Common types of gastric balloons
There are three types of gastric balloons to choose from:
Orbera: The Orbera balloon is inserted endoscopically and then filled with either air or saline solution. It remains in your stomach for about six months before being removed.
Obalon: The Obalon is a three-balloon system that you swallow over a few months during in-office visits. Obalon balloon capsules are approximately the size of a large grape. After six months, the balloons are removed using an endoscope.
Eclipse: The Eclipse balloon is a single balloon that is swallowed and then filled with sterile saline solution during an in-office procedure. Unlike other intragastric balloons, it is a non-surgical procedure that does not require endoscopy. After four months, the balloon will deflate on its own and passed naturally by the body after it degrades.
3. Am I a good candidate for gastric balloon?
Your doctor may recommend a gastric balloon if you meet the following criteria:
- Body mass index (BMI) over 27.
- Body mass index (BMI) between 35 and 40 with a disabling health risk associated with obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea (required for some types of balloons).
- You are willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
- You have not had any previous stomach or esophageal surgery.
- You need to lose weight to reduce surgical risks before an operation.
- Have realistic expectations.
4. How long does gastric balloon surgery take?
Gastric balloon procedures last between 20 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the type of balloon used. Gastric balloons are designed to stay in the stomach for about six months. The balloon is inflated for the required period of time, then deflated and may be removed with endoscopy.
5. What is the recovery like after gastric balloon surgery?
After the balloon is placed, you may experience some discomfort that lasts for a few days to a few weeks. Some discomfort is normal, but report anything unusual or painful to your bariatric surgeon. Patients typically leave the hospital and go home the same day, but it is advised to have a ride home.
During the first week of the procedure, most patients are not hungry and may experience nausea that worsens with food intake. Patients should follow a liquid diet for one to two weeks before starting to eat soft foods. You should be able to resume regular eating three weeks after the intragastric balloon was inserted. Weight loss can be significant during the first week. It is critical that you follow the recovery steps prescribed by your doctor.
6. When will I see the results?
The average gastric balloon patient loses a moderate amount of weight very quickly after the procedure. Many patients report weight loss results within three months of insertion, and patients can expect to lose 10 to 15% of their current body weight, or one-third of their excess weight, within six months.
- Month 3: Approximately 15% of excess weight
- Month 6: Approximately 30% of excess weight
*Actual weight loss could be higher or lower
7. How long do the results last?
Gastric balloons can be left in place for up to six months before being removed with an endoscope. Depending on the strategy decided by you and your doctor at that point, a new balloon may be inserted or not. As gastric balloon is not viewed as a “long-term fix,” long-term weight loss is reliant on the patient’s diet and lifestyle choices.
After focusing on a new diet and exercise regimen for weight loss that you and your doctor have discussed, successful patients focus their attention to the following after the balloon is removed:
- Eat slowly.
- Schedule your meals.
- Choose nutrient-dense foods.
- Eliminate fast foods and sodas.
Continue a sustainable exercise routine.
8. What are the risks of gastric balloon surgery?
The gastric balloon is a relatively low-risk and issue free procedure. However, as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects.
- Cramps, nausea, bloating, & vomiting: you may experience a combination of these symptoms in the first couple weeks following the procedure as your stomach is readjusting to the balloon.
- Overinflation: if the balloon is overinflated, you may experience abdominal pain/ swelling, vomiting, or difficulty breathing.
- Punctured esophagus: since a scope will be used during the procedure, there is a minuscule possibility that it could puncture the esophagus.
- Deflation/ stomach blockage: it is possible for the balloon to deflate in the stomach and cause a blockage.
- Stomach ulcer or rupture: although a rare complication, your surgeon may advise anti-ulcer medication to be taken throughout the time the balloon is in your stomach to reduce the chance of this risk.
9. How much does gastric balloon surgery cost in Canada?
The cost of gastric balloon depends on factors such as geographic location, the surgeon & their experience, and the complexity of your surgery. Typically, the cost in Canada ranges from $6,000 – $9,000.
10. Is gastric balloon surgery worth it?
5/7 people who received gastric balloon rated the treatment “Worth It” (71%).