If you’re looking at ways to lose weight, bariatric surgery might be a little extreme. It’s expensive, has a long recovery time, and requires essentially rerouting your digestive system. Bariatric surgery is often looked at as a last resort for the morbidly obese.
But what if you’re looking for a way to lose a significant amount of weight without surgery? The gastric balloon might be something to look into.
How does the gastric balloon work?There are several different types of gastric balloon procedures, but they all have the same properties. Gastric balloon procedures are nonsurgical, outpatient, temporary procedures that involve placing and keeping one or more saline-filled balloons in the stomach.
The gastric balloon is meant to do two things. First, it’s meant to help patients lose weight in about six months. Second, it’s meant to help train the patient to learn better eating behaviors after the balloon is removed.
The doctor uses an endoscope to insert a small capsule attached to a tube. This capsule goes down to your stomach, and is then inflated through the tube with a saline solution, forming a saline-filled balloon in the stomach. This balloon takes up about ⅓ of the stomach’s volume.
This balloon takes up room in your stomach, making you feel more full for longer, keeping you full throughout the day, and preventing you from eating a large amount of food.
Some gastric balloon brands use multiple balloons. Others, like the Orbera, use only one.
What’s It Like Recovering After The Gastric Balloon?Recovering from bariatric surgery takes several weeks and requires a great deal of adjustment. For the gastric balloon, however, recovery doesn’t take very long at all. The side effects aren’t too bad either: generally, the most common side effect is abdominal discomfort and nausea.
Patients don’t have a lengthy recovery time, either, as they’ll be able to do more or less everything they were doing before in a week or less. Some patients may have complications with the balloon, however, and for them recovery time is a little longer.
Gastric Balloon ResultsIf you were looking at bariatric surgery, you might think that the gastric balloon results are not all that impressive.
A clinical trial done with the Orbera balloon showed patients losing around 22 pounds on average after six months, and the patients reportedly kept the weight loss off even after the six-month period. Other clinical trials have shown that gastric balloon patients lose about 7-10% of total body weight within six months.
Although the results are not as great as bariatric surgery, the gastric balloon has proven to be an effective, non-surgical option for weight loss.
Living with the Gastric BalloonPatients are coached on diet and exercise habits that assist in weight loss while they’ve got the balloon in. Counseling is also provided to promote healthy eating habits and prevent overeating so that when the balloon is removed, they can live a healthier lifestyle at a healthier weight.
Most gastric balloon patients report feeling fuller than usual throughout the day, and some may experience mild abdominal discomfort. The patient, if the discomfort is too much, has the option to remove the balloon at any time.
The saline-filled balloon is removed after six months. The patient then takes what they’ve learned and experienced with the balloon and uses that to create a new, healthier life.