What is a gastric balloon?

Table of content
Key Takeaways:
A gastric balloon is an inflatable silicone balloon that is loaded in your stomach. It will work by getting you feel full sooner so that you eat less.

Is a gastric balloon suitable for me?

If your BMI score is over 40 (morbid obesity), surgery may assist you to gain long-term weight loss. Surgery may also assist if you have a BMI over 35 (severe obesity) and possess other medical problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea (your breathing stops for 10 seconds or longer during sleep), deep breathing problems or heart disease.

A gastric balloon can only stay in position for up to 9 months. For this reason, a gastric balloon can be applied to help you to lose weight to be prepared for weight-loss surgery or for an process that you have been rejected until you lose enough weight to lower the risk of serious complications.

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What are the benefits of a gastric balloon?

You will need to get improved eating habits to assist you to achieve long-term weight loss but this is based on on your capability to retain to your new lifestyle.

If you need weight-loss surgery or an additional operation, having a gastric balloon ought to help prepare you.

Long-term weight loss ought to improve most obesity-related health difficulties you may have.

Are there any alternatives to a gastric balloon?

The simple approach to losing weight includes eating less, improving your diet and working on more exercise. From time to time medication given by your GP can help.

There are surgical solutions to a gastric balloon.

  • Gastric banding
  • Shortening your digestive tract
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Gastric bypass

Is silicone safe?

Many studies have been taken out to find if silicone is safe. There is no proof to indicate that people who have gastric balloons have a large risk of developing diseases such as cancer and arthritis.

What does the process involve?

Depositing a gastric balloon generally takes 20 minutes to an hour.

Your doctor may provide you a sedative to help you to relax.

Your doctor will position a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat. They might ask you to swallow when the endoscope is in your throat. This will allow the endoscope to move easily into your oesophagus (gullet) and down into your stomach.

Your doctor will be ready to look for conditions such as inflammation or ulcers. If they can’t see any problems, they will use the endoscope to move the deflated balloon into your stomach. The balloon is linked to a soft tube and your doctor will use the tube to inflate the balloon with 650 to 750 millilitres of air or 400 to 700 millilitres of saline.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be severe and can even cause death.

Endoscopy complications

  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • A heart attack
  • Infection
  • Making a hole in your oesophagus or stomach
  • Damage to teeth or bridgework
  • Bleeding from minor damage caused by the endoscope
  • incomplete procedure

Gastric balloon complications

  • Feeling or being sick
  • Developing acid reflux
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Failure of the balloon
  • Bowel obstruction
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How soon will I recover?

You will need to be able to go home the same day or the day after.

You may be able to get only liquids for a few weeks, growing to soft food and then, after 1 to 2 weeks, to solid food.

You should be ready to return to work after 1 to 2 days, relying on how soon your stomach settles and your type of work.

Regular activity should help you to go back to normal activities as soon as possible. You will need to be able to start exercising again after a week. Just before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

On average, people who have a gastric balloon lose over one third of their excess body weight (the main difference between their weight before the operation and their healthy weight).

Your doctor will need to take out the balloon after 6 to 9 months. This will require another endoscopy.


Depositing a gastric balloon is generally a safe and effective way of facilitating you achieve long-term weight loss if a basic approach involving eating less, enhancing your diet and doing more exercise does not work.

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