There are many different types of gastric balloons but they all have the same end result – to take up some of the space in your stomach to enable you to lose weight – around 2/3 of the stomach capacity is usually filled by the balloon. Once it is in place the balloon stimulates nerves in the stomach that send a message to your brain to say that you are full. As a result of this it reduces your hunger making weight loss easier. Some examples of types of gastric balloons include the Orbera balloon (single balloon), the re – shape balloon (dual adjoining balloons and the Obalon balloon (3 balloons – swallowed at 3 separate appointments)
Usually you will be mildly sedated and the balloon is attached to a soft tube and passed through your mouth and into the stomach. This usually takes around 15 – 20 minutes and is called an endoscopy procedure. Once in situ the balloon is filled with saline solution via the soft tube. This tube is then removed and the balloon stays in the stomach. It will often then be x rayed to ensure it is in the correct position.
However, there are newer balloons now that makes this procedure easier – swallowable balloons sometimes dubbed “the gastric pill” You can basically just swallow these balloons with a glass of water– they are around the size of a large vitamin tablet and has a thin filling tube attached. An x ray is then done to check the balloon is in the correct place and if so it is filled with fluid. The tube is then removed leaving the balloon in the stomach
As a gastric balloon is one of the quickest and easier weight loss procedures they are usually done as a day case so no anaesthetic and no overnight hospital stay