A small balloon inflated in your stomach helps you lose weight.
Some people find it much more difficult than others to lose weight – even through regular exercise and a calorie controlled diet - and this can have a impact on both their physical and mental health.
A gastric balloon, which lies in your stomach for up to six months is intended to limit the amount you can eat. It can help you lose sufficient weight to benefit your health. The procedure, which takes 20-30 minutes, can also help get your weight down to a level so you can become a candidate for other long term weight loss procedures such as a gastric band.
Part of a number of procedures offered by the Bariatric team, the introduction of a soft silicon expandable device is designed to introduce a feeling of fullness in the stomach. This encourages patients to eat less. Often used to kick-start a change in dietary habit that will help with longer term, non-surgical weight loss.
Being overweight has a significant impact on your health - both physically and mentally. It can lead to low self esteem, limit your involvement in sports or other activities that could help you regain fitness, prevent you from joining in family fun and lead to time off work through illness or extreme tiredness.
An intragastric balloon, or gastric balloon, is an inflatable prosthetic device, that is used as a temporary aid to achieving weight loss in patients with moderate obesity. It is less invasive than other surgical weight loss procedures. A deflated soft balloon is inserted into your stomach by a thin, flexible telescope called an endoscope and then inflated.
The gastric balloon aims to provide a short-term solution if you are struggling to lose weight even after making a real commitment to lifestyle changes, such as a calorie-controlled diet. It can help you lose weight relatively quickly by making your stomach feel fuller for longer after eating relatively small meals.
It can help boost your self-confidence and achieve some health benefits while losing enough weight to become a candidate for longer term weight loss procedures such as a gastric band.
You can usually go home the same day although sometimes people need to stay in hospital overnight.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
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Attempting to cut down on your food intake and increase your exercise will help you get better results and achieve your desired outcome. If you can start these changes before the procedure it will help you become accustomed to them more quickly once the balloon is fitted. Our dietitians can provide you with support and advice.
Even relatively straightforward procedures like this one can understandably make you nervous. Our dedicated and caring team will be here for you every step of the way.
The procedure takes around 20-30 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic (a throat spray) and / or sedation so you are relaxed but awake. The gastric balloon is inserted in the mouth and oesophagus through endoscopy (threading a thin telescopic instrument down your throat) directly into your stomach and then inflated with saline to produce artificial bulk in the stomach. This fills a part of your stomach, which should help to make you feel full for longer which in turn reduces your ability to consume large volumes of food or fluid in one intake.
As this procedure is only aimed at providing a temporary weight loss solution, the balloon is only left in situation for a maximum of six months.
You will usually be able to go home the same day, or the day after depending on how nauseous you're feeling.
You'll need a friend or relative to take you home as you might still be feeling drowsy from the sedative.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
Our team of dietitians and specialist nurses will look after you throughout your stay and provide support and advice after treatment.
It may take your stomach a few days to get used to the balloon. Some patients experience one or more of the following during this time:
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
For the first three days to a week you should stick to a liquid diet - e.g water, juice, milk, thin soup and jelly - please follow the instructions provided by your consultant and dietitians.
Gradually your tolerance of most types of food will improve, but you should feel like eating less than before you had the procedure.
You should take it easy the first few days - take a few days off of work and move around gently. You may also be advised not to take part in strenuous activity for eight weeks.
In a small number of cases, patients may not be able to tolerate the balloon for the full six months. There is a possibility this may happen in the first few days after the balloon is placed, if side effects (including nausea and vomiting) do not resolve or are worse than anticipated. If this happens we will remove it early with your consent.
As you won't be engaging in strenuous activity for at least eight weeks it is important you talk to a friend or relative about how they can support you with the daily necessities.
It's also important that your relatives or whoever is supporting you during the first few days after the procedure understand what the side effects are. If they're buying or preparing food for you, you should show them the diet advice we will give you.
Even after you've left hospital we're still looking every step of the way. You'll need to attend regular follow-up appointments with members of the weight-loss team. For example, the dietician may make an appointment to see you one week after the balloon has been placed.
You'll be booked in for an appointment to have the balloon removed around six months after your operation and that will be further opportunity to discuss your weight loss.
On occasion, people have complications that go beyond the expected stomach discomfort and vomiting. For example, It is possible for the balloon to deflate or leak but most people are unaffected. If you experience any of these symptoms – severe bloating, stomach pain or a change in the colour of your urine – call us straight away. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
A 10-minute taxi ride from Reading railway station, we provide medical care to patients in Berkshire and the Thames Valley.
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