Gastric Balloon - non surgical option for weight loss

Obesity surgery can be an effective means of addressing chronic weight problems. However, there are those patients for who surgery is either not recommended or who would prefer to go down a non-surgical route.

There are a couple of non-surgical alternatives to obesity surgery. These are the gastric balloon and gastric stimulation. This will depend on personal preferences as well as your BMI but they are a good alternative. For example, if you have a BMI of 28 to 30; over 30 but would prefer a non-invasive option and over 50 with an obesity-related illness.

However, gastric stimulation is still at an experimental stage only and so is not widely available.

The Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon is becoming a popular alternative to ‘going under the knife’. It is a non-invasive procedure which means no general anaesthetic or overnight stay and can be done quickly and painlessly.

It can take as little as 10 minutes and you can return home after an hour. You are looking at just a day spent at home recovering although you will experience some nausea in the first week following this procedure.

What is a gastric balloon?

This is as the name says: it is a thin, flexible silicone balloon which can be filled with a saline solution or air. It is placed in a deflated state in your stomach via an endoscopic tube and inflated with an external catheter.

This inflated balloon reduces the capacity of the stomach and causes feelings of fullness early on whilst eating. This means that you will consume smaller portions of food which will lead to weight loss.

This balloon remains in the stomach for a maximum of 6 months. The most popular type of balloon is the BIBBioEnterics Intragastric Balloon which is widely used by clinics and hospitals everywhere.

It is removed via a reverse procedure: the balloon is deflated and then drawn up through the endoscope.

Your suitability for this procedure will be discussed with your surgeon. This is exactly the same as for any other obesity procedure. He/she may recommend this if you do not want surgery; if you do not fulfil the criteria for obesity surgery or as a means of achieving weight loss before undergoing a surgical procedure.

Gastric balloon guide sections

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