Gastric Balloon FAQ

The gastric balloon is a common weight loss procedure. Read the following gastric balloon FAQ to find out more.

How much weight will I lose?

You can expect to lose 20-30% of your excess body weight over the 6 months that the balloon is in place.

Will I lose weight quickly?

Weight loss is slower than with the other surgeries as a gastric balloon is the least invasive of the procedures and is only a temporary measure.

How long will I have to stay in hospital?

The balloon is inserted under sedation so can normally be performed as a day case requiring no overnight stay. You need to stay for a few hours until the sedation has worn off. You must not drive immediately after the sedation.

How long will I have to take off work?

Most people feel very nauseous for a few days after the balloon has been inserted so allow for this when considering taking time off. There is no other medical reason for time off.

Will I have to take any medication after surgery?

You will have to take some medication (proton pump inhibitor to prevent against gastritis) for 3 to 6 months the balloon is in place. You will be given one months’ supply when you are discharged from hospital and your GP can prescribe the medication for a further 2-5 months.

Will the balloon restrict me in any way?

Apart from feeling nauseous for up to 2 weeks the balloon should not affect your activity level at all.

How will my diet change after surgery?

To get the best results from the balloon adhere to the dietary advice given by the dietician at your monthly follow-up consultations. In practice most patients needs help from the dietician to get through the first 2 weeks and then chose to seek advice on an ad hoc basis.

What are the potential complications?

Potential complications of gastric balloon include, but are not limited to:

  • Adverse reactions to sedation and local anaesthesia
  • Sore or irritant throat following the procedure
  • Bronchial aspiration
  • Injury to the digestive tract
  • Stomach discomfort, cramping, nausea and vomiting are common side effects during the first few days after balloon placement
  • Feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, abdominal or back pain, gastro-oesophageal reflux or indigestion have also been reported
  • There is a risk that some patients will not be able to tolerate the balloon in the stomach, which would result in early removal
  • Ulcers: patients undergoing gastric balloon may develop ulcers at the stomach. Ulcers may require medical or surgical treatment and have complications of pain, bleeding and perforation
  • Rupture: Balloon may rupture and enter the small bowel. If this occurred, it would usually pass through the bowel and be expelled naturally but there is a risk, albeit, extremely small, that the ruptured balloon could obstruct the bowel. This can be serious and will require an additional surgery to remove the balloon .