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Gastric Balloon

A gastric balloon is a newer weight-loss procedure. At Inmedita we currently have three options for the six month gastric balloon.  This includes an air filled, saline filled and swallowable gastric balloon.  All three balloons are the same procedure but vary by placement and material.  The air filled and saline filled gastric balloons are place in your stomach by the surgeon at the hospital as an outpatient procedure.  The swallowable gastric balloon is swallowed by the patient and does not require any kind of surgical intervention.  The swallowable balloon does not require removal like the other gastric balloons but rather degrades itself and comes out the bowels.  The gastric balloon is placed in your stomach, helping you lose weight by limiting how much you can eat. It also makes you feel fuller faster.  This gastric balloon is an option if you're overweight or obese and diet and exercise haven't worked for you.

Like other weight-loss procedures, a gastric balloon requires a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.  Permanent healthy changes to your diet and regular exercise are key to ensuring the long-term success of the gastric balloon procedure.

Why it's done

The placement of a gastric balloon helps you lose weight. Weight loss can lower your risk of potentially serious weight-related health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes

Who it's for

A gastric balloon may be an option for you if fit the following:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is between 30 and 40.
  • You're willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes.
  • You have not had any previous stomach or esophageal surgery.

Risks

Pain and nausea affect about one-third of people soon after insertion of a gastric balloon. However, these symptoms usually only last for a few days after balloon placement.  Generally, these symptoms can be treated with oral medication.   

Serious risks after gastric balloon placement and removal are rare. It's possible that the balloon could deflate. If the balloon deflates, there's also a risk that it could move through your digestive system. This can cause a blockage that may require a further procedure.

Other possible risks include ulcers or a hole (perforation) in the stomach, which might require surgery to fix.

How you prepare

If you're going to have a gastric balloon placed in your stomach, our team will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. You may need to have various lab tests and exams before your procedure.

You may need to restrict what you eat and drink, as well as which medications you take.  You also may be required to start a physical activity program.  Following the placement of the balloon we generally require a one-night hospital stay to help patients deal with side effects of the balloon under our care.   Preparation varies from patient to patient. 

What you can expect

The gastric balloon procedure is done in the endoscopy unit as an outpatient procedure.  However, you will be sedated with a local anesthetic for the procedure (for the air filled and saline filled balloons only).

During the procedure, following thorough inspection of the stomach the doctor proceeds by advancing a thin tube loaded with the balloon down your throat into your stomach. Next, the doctor advances an endoscope — a flexible tube with a camera attached — down your throat into your stomach. The tiny camera allows your doctor to see the balloon as he or she fills it with air or saline. 

What happens after

Following the balloon insertion, it is advised to not eat or drink for three hours.  Some patients can have severe cramping and nausea.  The best way to deal with this is to follow your diet and medication plan given by the doctor.