Surgical treatments for obesity carry with them health complications that some people would rather not risk. When you want to overcome your obesity but want to avoid the risks that come with going through surgery, you may wonder what other treatments are available to you, such as the gastric balloon.
A gastric balloon could be your answer to receiving professional medical help to lose weight without going through a risky and invasive operation. Discover what benefits a gastric balloon can offer you in your efforts to lose weight and live healthy.
What is a Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon, as its name implies, is a balloon that is inserted into your stomach. It is filled with saline solution and kept in your stomach for six months. It takes up space in your stomach, causing you to eat less and lose weight.
The procedure for inserting the balloon is low risk and takes only a few minutes. It starts by you undergoing a diagnostic endoscope to ensure that your stomach is in good condition for placement of the balloon. After your medical team checks your stomach for signs of possible complications, your doctor will then administer a light sedation to help keep you calm and still during the procedure.
The balloon is gently inserted into your stomach and then filled with saline solution until it is about the size of a grapefruit. You will recover for a short period of time in the recovery room. You can then be discharged to recover at home as long as you do not show signs of infection or other complications.
The balloon will remain in place for six months during which you should eat less and lose weight. After six months has passed, the balloon will be removed. By that time, however, you should have lost weight and become used to eating smaller portions during meals.
Gastric Balloon Benefits
As you can see, a gastric balloon procedure differs greatly from gastric bypass surgery. Most notably, you do not have to be put under general anesthesia or spend several days in the hospital recovering from invasive or laparoscopic surgery.
You also do not have to contend with stitches, wounds, or post-surgical pain as you would if you underwent a gastric bypass. With a gastric balloon, you are able to resume your normal routine faster and without experiencing significant pain or discomfort.
Another benefit of the gastric balloon procedure centers on its brevity and low risk factors. Most procedures take about 20 minutes to complete. You will be put under the mildest of sedation so that you stay calm and quiet while the balloon is inserted.
Because the balloon is filled with saline solution, you have a lower risk of infection. Saline solution is safe for your stomach to absorb in case of ruptures or leaks. You are able to recover without having to take antibiotics as you would after going through gastric bypass surgery.
Finally, you may prefer a procedure that does not surgically alter one of the most vital organs in your body. When the idea of having your stomach or intestines stapled or surgically changed alarms you, you may feel more comfortable with a gastric balloon. After the balloon is removed, your stomach retains its smaller size naturally because of your new eating habits.
During the six months that the balloon is in your stomach, you will meet with a varied team of healthcare professionals like nutritionists, nurses, counselors, and others, all of whom will work together to help you learn how to eat healthy and in smaller portions. As you learn how to eat smaller servings at meals, you also will undergo counseling to ensure that you avoid emotional pitfalls like anxiety or depression.
After the balloon is removed, you will continue to meet with this team of professionals for several months or longer. This continued support ensures that you practice your new eating and lifestyle habits and also avoid behaviors that could cause you to regain weight.
A gastric balloon can be the ideal weight loss option for you if you are severely obese and cannot lose weight with traditional exercise and dieting. It also can be perfect for patients like you who do not want to go through an extensive, risky, and invasive weight loss surgery like a gastric bypass. Because the balloon takes up space in your stomach, you eat less and lose weight naturally. You also maintain your weight loss momentum by meeting with medical professionals trained to encourage and educate you on healthy eating habits.