UK Health Centre
Gastric balloon

Gastric Balloon - non surgical option for weight loss

Obesity surgery can be an effective means of addressing chronic weight problems. However, there are those patients for who surgery is either not recommended or who would prefer to go down a non-surgical route.

There are 2 types of non-surgical alternatives to obesity surgery. These are the gastric balloon and gastric pill that is swallowed and does not require anaesthesia. This will depend on personal preferences as well as your BMI but they are a good alternative. For example, if you have a BMI of 28 to 30.

The gastric balloon is becoming a popular alternative to ‘going under the knife’. It is a non-invasive procedure which means no general anaesthetic or overnight stay and can be done quickly and painlessly.

It can take as little as 10 minutes and you can return home after an hour but it is Prefered to stay in hospital for 2 days receiving medications. You are expected to experience some nausea in the first week following this procedure.

What is a gastric balloon?

This is as the name says: it is a thin, flexible silicone balloon which can be filled with a saline solution. It is placed in a deflated state in your stomach via an endoscopic tube and inflated with an external catheter. The second type is inflated without Endoscopic tube.

This inflated balloon reduces the capacity of the stomach and causes feelings of fullness early on whilst eating. This means that you will consume smaller portions of food which will lead to weight loss.

This balloon remains in the stomach for a maximum of 6 months. The most popular type of balloon is the BIB – BioEnterics Intragastric Balloon which is widely used by clinics and hospitals everywhere.

It is removed via a reverse procedure: the balloon is deflated and then drawn up through the endoscope. The gastric balloon pill dissolves by itself.

Your suitability for this procedure will be discussed with your surgeon. This is exactly the same as for any other obesity procedure. He/she may recommend this if you do not want surgery; if you do not fulfil the criteria for obesity surgery or as a means of achieving weight loss before undergoing a surgical procedure.

Possible complications:

Nausea and vomiting for some days (common), Patient rejection that needs extraction (very rare), and deflation that needs extraction (very rare).