Gastric Balloon FAQ’s

1How do intragastric balloons work?
The saline-filled balloon occupies about one third of the stomach cavity. This decreases the quantity of food that the stomach can hold. The presence of the balloon also interferes with stomach emptying, such that food stays in the stomach longer. Together, these effects promote diminished appetite and early satiety with lesser food quantities.
2How is the adjustable balloon different than other intragastric balloons?
The adjustable intragastric balloon has several advantages. 1) It is adjustable, which means it is dynamic and can be changed as your needs and appetite changes. 2) It is approved for 1 year implantation time. The first balloon to have both of these advantages. Leaving a balloon in the stomach longer without changing the volume of the balloon is not likely to produce greater weight loss. The longer implantation time also gives you longer behavior modification time which yields longer lasting behavioral changes.
3How is the gastric balloon procedure performed?
A standard endoscopy with anaesthesia is performed. If no abnormalities are found, the gastric balloon with anchor is inserted via the mouth into the stomach – all under anaesthesia. Once inside the stomach, the balloon is filled with sterile saline through a small filling tube attached to the balloon. Placements of the balloon and adjustment procedures take approximately 40 minutes, after which patients are admitted in hospital for 1 day and then sent home next day.
4Who is the intragastric balloon suitable for?
The intragastric balloon is designed to assist with weight loss in people who ideally have 10 kilograms or more of weight to lose, or those individuals with a BMI greater than 27. It is also used for people who are not suitable candidates for weight loss surgery. The use of the balloon may assist in reducing weight prior to any surgery, therefore reducing the risks associated with surgical procedures. The Gastric Balloon is the ideal noninvasive alternative to gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery and other bariatric surgeries.
5How long does the adjustable gastric balloon stay in the stomach?
The Intragastric Balloon can be placed in the stomach for a twelve month period. While you are using the balloon, your physician will prescribe a course of oral medication to reduce your stomach acid (this may reduce the possibility of stomach irritation and damage to the balloon).
6What happens if the gastric balloon deflates spontaneously?
Your doctor will place a blue liquid inside the balloon so that if the balloon leaks, the blue liquid will come out and turn your urine green. Should this happen, your doctor should be notified immediately and schedule prompt removal of the balloon.
7How much weight can I lose with the gastric balloon?
It is important for you to understand that the intragastric balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and must be used in conjunction with diet, exercise and a behavior modification program. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes. Average weight losses of 16 kg over 6 month periods have been reported with the stomach balloon. Average weight losses of 25 kg have been reported over 1 year with the balloon.
8What are the possible side-effects associated with the intragastric balloon?
It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach will cause nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, of varying intensity, for a few days after placement. Your physician will prescribe medication to help minimize these potential effects, but these can persist during the first week. There exists the possibility that you will lose only a small amount of weight or lose no weight at all while using the balloon. Of course, your commitment to dietary and behavioral changes will determine your success. There is also a chance that unhealthy, uncontrolled weight loss will occur and create adverse health consequences. Be sure to speak with your physician about this.
9Will I be able to feel the balloon in my stomach?
There will be discomfort during the first few days after the procedure. From then on, the intragastric balloon will give you a feeling of fullness.
10How long will it take to recover after the procedure?
You should plan at least one week of inactivity to recover from the procedure. You will be able to resume normal activity sooner or later than this depending on how quickly your body adjusts to the stomach balloon.
11Does the gastric balloon require frequent visits to my doctor after the procedure?
The follow-up program is critical to success of the balloon and in learning new lifestyle skills. You will meet with your Doctor several times over the course of the year. It is most important to meet with your dietician/nutrition counselor at least twice-a-month while the gastric balloon is in place. Patients who follow up weekly have greater success! During this time your progress will be evaluated and you will learn valuable principles of health, nutrition and exercise that will provide you a foundation for long-term success.
12How often will my balloon volume be adjusted?
When you feel less balloon effect (resumption of appetite) or when weight loss diminishes, you can have your balloon volume increased. Gastric balloon effect diminishes after 2 to 4 months, which is when you can expect to have your first balloon adjustment. It can be done as often as needed with a Endoscopy procedure under general anaesthesia. The balloon volume can also be decreased in cases of balloon intolerance.
13How will the intragastric balloon be removed?
The Intragastric balloon is removed in the same way it was placed, via the esophagus and mouth using endoscopy under anaesthesia. The balloon can be deflated using the inflation tubing or via puncture using a needle catheter.
14Will the intragastric balloon limit my activities?
During the first week of the procedure you should not plan any heavy activities. Once your body has adjusted to the balloon you can continue your normal activities. Starting a regular exercise program after 15 days is highly recommended and will improve your success.
15Can I drink alcohol?
Alcohol in small amounts is fine. Alcohol consumption raises the risk of ulceration.
16Can I eat anything I want? Are there any food restrictions?
You will not feel like eating as much as you used to. In addition, if you eat fatty foods or sweets, you may feel unwell and you may not get the desirable results. Excessive overeating while the gastric balloon is in place can prove dangerous.