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  • Tim Reed

Gastric Balloon Surgery for Weight Loss. Genuine Advice

Updated: Apr 22

Gastric Balloon

Someone holding a gastric balloon
A Gastric Balloon - Is it Right For You For Weight Loss?

In this post, we are dedicating it to the weight loss balloon, often called a gastric balloon. We will look into the pros and cons of bariatric surgery and give you genuine advice as this type of weight loss surgery isn't for everyone. We have videos and a FAQ section to answer all your questions.

Let's start!



What is a Weight Loss or Gastric Balloon?

Weight loss/Gastric balloons have emerged as a non-surgical and relatively low-risk option for individuals looking to shed excess kilos. These innovative devices offer an alternative to invasive weight loss surgeries and provide a temporary but impactful means to help people reach their weight loss goals. In this section, we'll explore what a weight loss balloon is, how it works, its benefits, and its potential considerations for those considering this approach to weight management.

A weight loss balloon ("allurion balloon"), also known as an intragastric balloon or gastric balloon, is a medical device designed to assist individuals in losing weight by reducing the amount of food they can comfortably consume. Unlike surgical procedures such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, weight loss balloons are non-surgical interventions.

Benefits of Weight Loss Balloons

  1. Non-Surgical Approach: One of the most significant advantages of weight loss balloons is that they do not require invasive surgery. This reduces the risks associated with surgical procedures and shortens recovery time.

  2. Significant Weight Loss: Weight loss balloons have been shown to help individuals lose a substantial amount of weight, typically between 10% to 15% of their total body weight within the six-month period.

  3. Temporary Intervention: Unlike surgical weight loss procedures that are permanent, weight loss balloons provide a temporary solution. After removal, individuals can continue their weight loss journey with healthier eating habits and exercise.

  4. Rapid Results: Many people experience noticeable weight loss within the first few weeks of having the balloon inserted, which can be motivating and encouraging

Weight loss balloons are a non-surgical, temporary intervention for individuals seeking to lose weight. While they offer significant advantages such as rapid weight loss and reduced surgical risks, they should be considered as part of a broader weight management plan that includes lifestyle changes. If you are considering a weight loss balloon, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it's the right choice for your weight loss goals and overall health.

How Does it Help For Weight Loss?

A weight loss balloon can be great for weight loss. However, it should considered as part of an overall weight loss journey plan, that will involve a healthy diet and exercise. In a nutshell, the balloon (or baloons) are places inside your stomach and inflated. They help you feel full sooner and therefore reduce the amount of food (and obviously calories) that you eat. It also slows gastric emptying which means that you also feel full for longer periods of time.

The weight loss balloon is typically inserted into the stomach through a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how it works:

  1. Insertion: The deflated balloon is placed into the stomach via the mouth using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera and light on the end.

  2. Inflation: Once the balloon is positioned in the stomach, it is filled with a sterile saline solution, expanding to occupy space in the stomach.

  3. Occupying Space: The inflated balloon takes up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reduced hunger. As a result, individuals consume smaller meals and fewer calories.

  4. Duration: Weight loss balloons are typically left in the stomach for a period of six months. After this time, they are removed using the same endoscopic procedure.

How is the Gastric Balloon Inserted and Removed?

The insertion and removal of a gastric balloon involve minimally invasive endoscopic procedures performed by a medical professional. For insertion, a deflated balloon is carefully placed into the stomach through the mouth using an endoscope, a thin and flexible tube equipped with a camera and light. Once positioned within the stomach, the balloon is gently inflated with a sterile saline solution, expanding to occupy space. 

This inflation promotes a feeling of fullness, helping individuals consume smaller meals and reduce caloric intake. Balloon removal occurs after approximately six months and follows a similar process. An endoscope is used to access the stomach, and the deflated balloon is carefully retrieved and extracted through the mouth, leaving no incisions or surgical scars. 

These non-surgical procedures minimise recovery time and offer individuals a safe and effective means to jumpstart their weight loss journey. There are also weight loss balloons that biodegrade over time and leave the body naturally.

Risks and Common Side Effects of a Weight Loss Balloon

While weight loss balloons offer several benefits, it's essential to consider potential side effects and limitations:

  1. Nausea and Discomfort: Some individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain during the initial days or weeks after balloon placement. Stomach irritation is often reported.

  2. Diet and Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss balloons are most effective when combined with a comprehensive program that includes dietary and lifestyle modifications. Without these changes, weight loss may be less substantial.

  3. Temporary Solution: Weight loss balloons provide a temporary solution and are not a long-term fix for obesity. It is crucial to use the time with the balloon to establish healthier habits.

  4. Risk of Balloon Deflation: Although rare, there is a risk of the balloon deflating prematurely, which would necessitate its removal.

There have also been deaths related to gastric balloons.

How Much Does it Cost?

Gastric Ballon Surgery costs between $6000 and $11,000 depending on a number of factors. If this seems expensive, there may be better alternatives to try first, before this type of invasive surgery.

Alternatives to Weight Loss Balloon Gastric Surgery

To help shift that excess weight, many people try natural weight loss supplements first before prescription medication or weight loss balloon surgery.

We have some recommended weight loss supplements here.

Alternatively, our blog contains information about prescription medication for weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have searched the web for the most commonly asked questions about weight loss and gastric balloons, and bariatric surgery. Here are the top searched questions, together with answers.

  1. What is a weight loss balloon, and how does it work?

  2. Who is a suitable candidate for a weight loss balloon?

  3. How long does the weight loss balloon stay in the stomach?

  4. What kind of weight loss results can I expect with a weight loss balloon?

  5. Are there any side effects or discomfort associated with weight loss balloons?

  6. Is the weight loss achieved with a balloon permanent?

  7. Can I eat regular foods with a weight loss balloon?

  8. Is the weight loss balloon procedure reversible?

  9. Are weight loss balloons covered by insurance?

  10. Are there any risks associated with weight loss balloons?

  11. How big is the balloon?The stomach balloon is about the size of a grapefruit and is injected with approximately 550ml of fluid.

  12. Is the gastric balloon fitted as an outpatient?Yes, the outpatient procedure is one so that it is considered day surgery. You do not normally need to stay in hospital overnight.

  13. Do I need to diet and exercise if I have a gastric balloon fitted?Doctors recommend that the balloon forms part of an overall weight loss plan. Stick to an exercise program, eat a healthy diet and lead a healthy lifestyle for best results. You will eat less food with one fitted, but that doesn't mean you can eat junk food every day. A gastric balloon is just one non-surgical procedure in the treatment of obesity. Long-term weight loss is achieved with regular exercise and a healthy diet as well; this is the best way to lose weight.

  14. Who is not suitable for a gastric balloon?If you've previously undergone stomach surgery or have medical conditions like stomach ulcers, severe acid reflux, hiatus hernia (hiatal hernia), or specific other health issues, the gastric balloon may not be a suitable option for you. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate weight loss method based on your individual medical history and needs.

Remember that the decision to undergo a intragastric balloon procedure should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional who can assess your individual needs and provide personalised guidance on weight management options.If you have high blood pressure, always speak with your Doctor or GP as this may plan an important factor in consideration of this treatment. 

The next step if you are thinking of these types of bariatric procedures  is to go to you healthcare provider for a physical examination and consultation. Ask if this weight loss system is right for you (obese patients are often prioritised). Keep in regular contact with the doctor's clinical team and support team who fitted the gastric balloon and always call them if you have any serious side effects.

Long term weight loss is often seen with these type of weight loss balloons, but your first step is to make an appointment with your GP. He or she will then refer you to a bariatric surgeon which will be your next step to losing weight and a better quality of life.

If you go down this path, we wish you all the best of luck :)

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