Gastric Balloons: Frequently Asked Questions

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According to the Obesity Reporter, 179,000 Americans underwent a traditional bariatric surgery in 2013, such as a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve. If you've considered one of these invasive surgeries, you might be frightened by the side effects and are looking for a non-surgical alternative. The gastric balloon is a non-surgical method that, when combined with diet and exercise, can help you lose a significant amount of weight. Here are answers to a few questions you might have about the gastric balloon procedure:

What Does the Gastric Balloon Procedure Involve?

Unlike the traditional bariatric surgeries which involve being put under general anesthesia and, according to WebMD, requires you stay in the hospital for two to three days after the procedure, getting a gastric balloon is far less invasive.

In the beginning of the procedure, a healthcare professional will numb the back of your throat with a spray. You will also be offered a medication that will relax you and make you feel sleepy, if you're feeling anxious. Next, a piece of plastic will be placed in your mouth to help you keep it open. Don't worry, none of this will make you uncomfortable or restrict your breathing.

The doctor will then fix the balloon to an instrument called a scope. This scope will be carefully lowered down your throat and into your stomach. The balloon will be placed in your stomach and the scope will be taken out. Once the scope is out, the doctor will inflate the balloon in your stomach with either oxygen or a saline solution.

The entire procedure will only take a few minutes, and in most cases, you are able to go home on the same day. The doctor might recommend a friend or family member drive you home and stay with you for the first day, just in case you have any discomfort or need to visit your doctor.

What are the First Few Days Like After the Procedure?

During the first few hours and days after your procedure, you may feel bloated and a little uncomfortable. To keep you from getting sick and help your body adjust to the balloon, your doctor will recommend you remain on a liquid diet for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.

After the liquid diet, your doctor will recommend you eat only soft foods for a few days. For example, you can puree lean proteins, cheese or fish. Once you are able to tolerate soft foods for an amount of time determined by your physician, you can then move to your new, healthy diet.

The first days after your gastric balloon placement can be uncomfortable and you might experience a few side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. Sticking to your doctor's diet plan will help alleviate these symptoms.

Your doctor will also limit your activity for the first few days after the procedure. Once you're able to tolerate your regular diet, you can also begin exercising. Work with your physician to create an exercise plan that will help you lose weight without aggravating your gastric balloon.

Is There Any Follow-Up Required After the Procedure?

Your doctor will want to see you within the first few days after the balloon is placed. It is vital that you make this first appointment so the doctor can ensure there are no issues. Additionally, your doctor will recommend you see a nutritionist. The balloon will be more effective if you maintain a healthy, low calorie diet.

Depending on the type of balloon you have placed, your balloon will be removed anywhere from a few weeks to one year after it is placed. Additionally, if your appetite begins to come back or increases, your doctor may need to place more saline or air into the balloon.

If you're ready to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, the gastric balloon might be the solution you've been searching for. Don't hesitate to contact a physician, such as Belly Balloon Texas, to help you determine if the gastric balloon is the best option to help you lose weight.