More and more people are becoming interested in the gastric balloon to help them lose weight. It is a minimally invasive procedure, whereby a balloon is placed inside the stomach and filled with a sterile fluid. In so doing, people feel less hungry and are not able to consume as much food, which means they inevitably lose weight. The procedure is temporary, however, with the balloon remaining in place for just six months. Most clinics that fit it offer it as part of a full 12 month weight loss plan, which ensures people maintain the weight they have lost while they had the balloon fitted.
With a gastric balloon, most people lose between nine and 14kg during the six months of it being in place. It is recommended both for people who want to kick start their weight loss, and for those who believe they will be able to maintain their new weight once it is removed.
What Is it?
Essentially, a gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure whereby a balloon is inserted through the esophagus into the stomach, after which it is filled with a sterile solution. It takes up around 75% of the space inside the stomach. While a reasonably quick and risk-free procedure, it does have to be done properly and it is certainly not a case of one size fits all. Hence, make sure you choose a specialist who is trained in gastric balloons.
Once the stomach is partially filled with the balloon, you will feel less hungry. Furthermore, when you do eat, you will feel full very quickly. Hence, you will consume less calories and lose weight as a result. However, for it to be truly effective, people do need a lot of support while the balloon is in place, as well as afterwards. Since it can only stay in place for six months, people may be tempted to return to their previous eating habits if they are not properly encouraged to avoid this.
To prepare for the insertion of the balloon, most patients will be provided with a short diet to follow, perhaps for a week before the procedure itself. They also have to take drugs such as Lansoprazole or Omeprazole, which are antacids, for a week before having the balloon fitted, and some time afterwards.
On the day of the operation, you will be admitted into a ward, where nurses will take your stats, such as weight, height, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. You may also need to provide a urine sample. You may also be give special compression socks to avoid deep vein thrombosis. This is particularly important if you are obese, as the risk of thrombosis occurring is greatly increased. Before you go through the procedure, it will once again be explained to you and you will have to sign a consent form to indicate that you have understood both the benefits and the risks of the procedure.
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