The gastric balloon is an inflatable medical device that is temporarily placed into the stomach to reduce weight. It is used to provide a weight loss option in selected patients when diet and exercise have failed and surgery is not recommended.
Firstly, they occupy space within the stomach, so that there is less space for food. The stomach varies in size substantially from person to person according to your height, sex and genes. The average stomach is approximately 1.5L in volume, and so the average balloon (filled to 650 mL) reduces the volume of the stomach by less than 50%.
In fact, the main effect of the balloon is that it slows the passage of food and liquid through the stomach. This makes you feel fuller quicker and longer and substantially reduces the amount you need to eat to feel comfortably full.
The balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth without the need for surgery. The doctor inserts an endoscopic camera (gastroscope) into the stomach. If no abnormalities are observed, the balloon is placed through the mouth and down the oesophagus into the stomach. Once inside the stomach, it is then filled with a sterile saline solution, through a small filling tube attached to the balloon. Once filled, the doctor removes the tube by gently pulling on the external end, leaving the balloon inside the stomach.
Placement of the balloon takes approximately 20 minutes, after which patients are monitored by nursing staff in the recovery bay. As this is a “day-only” procedure, patients are generally discharged home within two hours after balloon insertion.
Weight Loss -
It is important for you to understand that the intragastric balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and are most effective when combined with a comprehensive lifestyle programme delivered by your doctor and trained dietitians. The amount of weight loss to be expected is specific to each device; but in general, most devices will achieve 15-20% TBWL (Total Body Weight Loss; ie a 100kg person would lose 15-20 kg on average*). Ultimately, the amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow the advice of your doctor and our trained dietitians.