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Intragastric balloon insertion

How does the intragastric balloon work

Once in place, the balloon is filled with a saline and partially fill the stomach, helping a person to feel less hungry, so that they may consume smaller portions of food and experience similar satisfaction to what they would have previously experienced after consuming a larger meal.

How is the gastric balloon procedure performed?

The balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth without the need for surgery. The doctor inserts an endoscopic camera (gastroscope) into the stomach. If no abnormalities are observed, the balloon is placed through the mouth and down the oesophagus into the stomach. Once inside the stomach, it is then filled with a sterile saline solution, through a small filling tube attached to the balloon. Once filled, the doctor removes the tube by gently pulling on the external end, leaving the balloon inside the stomach.

This procedure is performed by a qualified specialist gastroenterologist alongside an anaesthetist and trained nursing staff at several day surgeries and private hospitals throughout within Sydney.

Placement of the balloon takes approximately 20 minutes, after which patients are monitored by nursing staff in the recovery bay. As this is a "day-only" procedure, patients are generally discharged home within two hours after balloon insertion.

Who is the intragastric balloon suitable for?

The intragastric balloon is designed to assist with weight loss in people who ideally have 10 to 30 kilograms of weight to lose. The minimum BMI is for individuals with a BMI of 27 and greater.

It is also used for people who are not suitable for other forms of weight loss surgery. The use of the Gastric Balloon may assist in reducing weight prior to surgery, therefore reducing the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.

How long is does the Gastric Balloon stay in the stomach

The Gastric Balloon can be placed in the stomach for a six-month period. Should your doctor recommend use of the balloon for longer than six months, it is necessary that the balloon be replaced with a new one when the six-month interval has been met.

What happens if the gastric balloon deflates spontaneously?

Your doctor will place a coloured dye inside the balloon called Methlyene Blue. This will help you clearly identify early deflation or leakage, as it will change the colour of your urine to green. Should this occur you must notify the clinic immediately to have the balloon removed.

How will the intragastric balloon be removed?

The intragastric balloon is removed in the same way it was placed, via the oesophagus and mouth. Using an endoscopic camera, the physician introduces a catheter through the mouth and into the stomach. The balloon is then punctured and deflated. Once the balloon is deflated it can be grasped and removed.

How much weight can I lose with the gastric balloon?

It is important for you to understand that the intragastric balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and must be used in conjunction with diet, exercise and a behaviour modification program. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes.

What are the possible side effects associated with the intragastric balloon?

It is very likely that the presence of the balloon in the stomach will cause nausea or vomiting for a few days after placement, the intensity of which can vary. Our clinic will prescribe medication to help minimise these potential effects, but these can persist during the first few days.

There exists the possibility that you will lose only a small amount of weight, of course, your commitment to dietary and behavioural changes will determine your success.

Will I be able to feel the balloon in my stomach?

There will be discomfort during the first few days after the procedure. From then on, the gastric balloon will give you a feeling of fullness.

How long will it take to recover after the procedure?

You should plan at least three days of inactivity to recover from the procedure. You will be able to resume normal activity sooner or later than this depending on how quickly your body adjusts to the balloon.

Does the gastric balloon require frequent visits to my doctor after the procedure?

The follow-up program is critical to success of the balloon and in learning new lifestyle skills. You will meet with your lifestyle team at least once a month, during the first six months while the balloon is in place and then bi-monthly when once the balloon is removed, for an additional six months. During this time your progress will be evaluated and you will learn valuable principles of health, nutrition and exercise that will provide you a foundation for long-term success.

Will the intragastric balloon limit my activities?

During the first week of the procedure you should not plan any heavy activities. Once your body has adjusted to the balloon you can continue your normal activities. Starting a regular exercise program is highly recommended and will improve your success.

Can I drink alcohol?

Alcohol in moderation is fine.

Can I eat anything I want? Are there any food restrictions?

There are no food restrictions, although you will not feel like eating as much as you used to. In addition, if you eat fatty foods or sweets, you may feel unwell. Excessive overeating while the balloon is in place can prove dangerous

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