Should I Get a Gastric Balloon?
What is a Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon is a saline-filled silicone balloon placed in the stomach. Saline is a simple salt solution that poses no threat to the body and saline has been used in a wide range of implanted medical technologies. When placed in the stomach, it facilitates weight loss.
Why is This Procedure Performed?
The procedure is performed for people who are overweight or obese and who have had long-term difficulty losing weight, typically while dieting under medical supervision. The balloon allows the patient to feel fuller faster, usually resulting in noticeable improvement in weight loss results.
What Does the Procedure Consist of?
Before the procedure, you’ll be instructed about your diet and may need to fast for a short period of time to ensure your stomach is empty when it is time to insert the balloon. In rare cases, it might also be necessary to temporarily adjust medications you are taking.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis using general anesthesia. A thin tube called a catheter will be inserted into the throat and down to the stomach. Then, an endoscope – another thin tube with a camera attached – is entered into the catheter until it reaches the stomach.
The deflated balloon is initially inserted using the catheter. Then, once the endoscope is in place, the doctor is able to observe the balloon directly while filling it with saline. The whole procedure takes about a half hour on average. You can return home safely within several hours.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for a Gastric Balloon?
Candidates for a gastric balloon procedure typically have a body mass index between 30 and 40, which indicates obesity. Some candidates who have had previous esophageal or stomach surgery may be disqualified, but this is rare.
A gastric balloon does not provide an “all in one” solution for weight concerns. A patient should be ready to commit to a complete plan of diet and exercise, which should entail regular follow-up with a physician versed in weight loss.
What Are the Risks of a Gastric Balloon?
Mild to moderate discomfort, including some pain and nausea, may affect about 33% of patients in the days shortly after a gastric balloon is implanted. These symptoms generally fade on their own within a short time and can be treated using oral medication.
Serious risks are extremely rare. Sometimes, the balloon may deflate. If this takes place, patients generally notice a change in stomach capacity right away. It’s important to follow up with your doctor promptly. A fully deflated gastric balloon may travel down through your intestinal tract.
What Are the Benefits of a Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon allows you to feel fuller faster and reduces the amount you may eat by directly influencing your stomach capacity. This is intended to help patients lose weight with the help of a regular program of diet and exercise without worrying about intense food cravings.
Patients who have been overweight for several years may consider the procedure to reduce their risk of weight-related complications. Some of these complications include heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and Type 2 diabetes. There may also be other benefits over time. For example, many people report greater energy, focus, and better sleep after losing weight.
At Gotham Medical Associates, we can help you assess whether a gastric balloon might be the right treatment choice for you. If you decide to go forward, you’ll benefit from the highest level of medical expertise right here in Manhattan. To learn more, contact us today. We look forward to helping you very soon.