Surgical weight loss solutions can be a significant undertaking and are not right for everyone. For those who are not yet comfortable with the idea of bariatric surgery, who would prefer to first try a non-surgical approach, or who do not meet the minimum requirements for surgery, other options are available.

The gastric balloon is a revolutionary non-surgical approach to safe, healthy weight loss. Over the course of six months of use, patients can learn how to retrain their eating habits, manage cravings, reduce portion sizes, and add exercise to their routines for an efficient way to lose weight.

What is the gastric balloon?

The gastric balloon is a small, flexible, medical-grade balloon placed in the stomach for a period of six months. When in place, patients feel a consistent level of fullness that is designed to teach healthy eating habits while stimulating successful weight loss. The gastric balloon can be inserted in a simple outpatient procedure in your doctor's office.

How does a gastric balloon work?

Gastric Balloon insertion and inflation

The gastric balloon works by providing a sensation of fullness to help patients eat less and manage cravings.

Years of overeating and binge eating can stretch the stomach to an unnatural size, producing artificial feelings of hunger in patients who should be otherwise satisfied. Use of a gastric balloon provides a way around these feelings, controlling sensations within the body that govern food cravings. For maximum results, the gastric balloon is paired with a customized diet and exercise plan.

Who is eligible for gastric balloon procedures?

Gastric balloon procedures are best for patients who meet the following criteria:

  • A desire to lose at least 30 pounds
  • A BMI of between 30 and 40
  • Are not prepared to consider a surgical solution
  • A history of failed weight loss attempts through diet and exercise
  • An ability to commit to lifestyle changes and a behavior modification program
  • Your surgeon will evaluate your eligibility on a case by case basis.

How is a gastric balloon fitted?

Your gastric balloon is fitted by your doctor after a thorough exam that evaluates your eligibility and weight loss needs.

Insertion of a gastric balloon is fast and easy. Under twilight anesthesia, using an endoscope, the balloon is inserted through your mouth and carefully placed in the stomach. Your doctor will use saline to inflate the balloon to an appropriate size. Over the following weeks, your doctor will schedule routine checkups to evaluate your weight loss progress and ensure there are no complications.

Balloons should not be left in place for longer than six months. After this time, your doctor may remove the balloon permanently, or insert a second balloon for further treatment. Over the six months following removal, patients will be required to attend additional follow-up appointments to confirm the continuation of positive diet and exercise routines

How successful is the gastric balloon?

In patients who adhere to all usage guidelines, gastric balloons can be extremely effective. The average patient loses three times more weight than diet and exercise alone and is more likely to see permanent results. Patients are also far more likely to learn better habits that can lead to improved weight loss efforts in the future.

If you are considering the gastric balloon and would like to learn more, Sun Coast Bariatrics can help. Get in touch today to get additional information about what we can offer!