Non-Surgical Weight Loss – Gastric Balloon
Weight-Loss Wednesday #10: Weight Loss Without Surgery
Part 2 of a 3-part series on the Endoscopic Adjustable Gastric Balloon – what to expect before, during and after your procedure; by Dr Melvin Look, as featured in Shape Magazine October 2015
Q: My family doctor says I have moderate obesity and advised me to consider a Gastric Balloon procedure. What can expect?
The Gastric Balloon is a useful tool for weight loss for those who are overweight or obese but do not require a major weight loss operation. The device is inserted into the stomach through your mouth in a 10-minute procedure. No surgery is required and the procedure is totally reversible when it is removed in the same way 12 months later.
Your weight loss journey begins with an assessment in our clinic. We do a weight wellness assessment to chart your body composition and exclude medical problems, such as thyroid and hormonal disorders, which may be the primary cause of your weight gain. We also look for metabolic complications associated with obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease and sleep apnoea.
We also discuss the Balloon procedure in full detail. Alternatively, you can also join one of our Meet-the-Doctor sessions where we have informal chats with small groups of participants*. Sharing of common experiences is often very useful for mutual support and encouragement.
Q: How do I prepare for the procedure?
The procedure is done in the Endoscopy Centre. Registration is done an hour before your scheduled procedure. No special preparation is required other than fasting for 6 hours. Sips of water are allowed. You will be given an intravenous injection for sedation. We will perform a thorough examination of your stomach with the gastroscope to exclude problems like stomach ulcers which may make the procedure risky. Any previous surgery to the stomach is an absolute contraindication as well.
The Gastric Balloon insertion takes 10 minutes and you will be allowed to drink clear fluids once you wake up in the recovery area. Most people will go home once they are fully alert a few hours later. Some will prefer to stay overnight in hospital for rest, intravenous fluids and medication to reduce the side effects of the balloon.
Q: What are the side effects and complications?
The Gastric Balloon is a safe procedure and serious complications related to the insertion are very rare. Almost everyone, however, will suffer from some side effects for a few days and this may last up to a week. Vomiting and cramps may occur initially as the stomach will need time to get used to the device. This can sometimes be quite distressing but can usually be controlled with medication.
For this reason, you will be put on a liquid diet for the first week until the vomiting and cramps have resolved. Clear fluids and juices initially, and progressing on to thicker soups and yoghurt over the next few days. Carbonated drinks should be avoided as they will make you bloated.
Normal physical activity is fine after the insertion procedure but you should plan to give yourself a few days off work to rest. Some people cannot tolerate the Gastric Balloon even after a week. We will then recommend repeating the gastroscopy to adjust the size to a smaller volume.
We actually plan a clinic review a week after the insertion procedure. The initial side effects should have settled down by then and you will meet our dietician for counselling and meal planning. We will also encourage starting regular exercise and sports. There is no restriction to any sort of physical activity, and you can even scuba diving if you wish.
Read more about the related topics:
– Weight loss with surgery (Part 1): Endoscopic Adjustable Gastric Balloon