Over the past decade or so, weight loss surgery has become increasingly popular. It is now both accessible and, since it is often covered to a great extent by insurance, it is also affordable. Plus, medical technology is advancing, which means not every has to have the gastric band or gastric bypass anymore, which is a very serious and, sometimes, invasive procedure. Instead, they can choose to have the gastric balloon fitted, which effectively works the same way, but without having to make a permanent change to the stomach. Just as with the gastric bypass and gastric band, the size of the stomach is restricted, meaning people can’t eat as much and feel fuller very quickly. This, in turn, helps them change their lifestyle so that they eat the right portions.
What Is the Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloons are small pouches, usually made from silicone, that are placed inside your stomach using an endoscopic tube. An endoscopic tube is passed through your mouth down to the stomach, and the deflated balloon is attached to it. Once in place, either a saline solution or air is used to inflate the balloon.
How Does it Work?
Once the balloon is inside your stomach, the position has been checked, and it has been filled, a large proportion of your stomach will be taken up by it. Obviously, therefore, there is less space to put food in the stomach. Furthermore, the balloon puts pressure on the side of your stomach, which means you will feel full very quickly. It is very difficult to overeat when you have a gastric balloon. In fact, portion sizes must be restricted, as there simply isn’t enough space. When you eat less, and particularly portion sizes that small, you will also lose weight.
You do have to remember that a balloon cannot stay in your stomach forever. Rather, it should be removed after six months. After that, you will have to s tick to your new lifestyle and eat small portions by yourself. Alternatively, if you were severely obese, you may have been fitted with the balloon in order to lose enough weight to enable a surgeon to perform a more permanent procedure such as the gastric bypass or the lap band.
Can I Have a Gastric Balloon?
Two kinds of people are most suited for the gastric balloon. Firstly, there are those who have a BMI of between 26 and 30, meaning they are overweight and edging closer to obese. Secondly, they are for those who are severely obese, meaning their BMI is over 50, and who are too physically unfit to go through surgery, helping them lower their BMI and improve their health so that they can have the surgery afterwards.
Do not see a gastric balloon as an easy tool to lose weight if you just want to get rid of the pounds you put on over Thanksgiving and Christmas, however. It is a medical device and it is only approved for people who meet the weight criteria.