Balloon Stomach Surgery

Balloon Stomach Surgery

Medical science has come up with many new methods in ways to help people tackle obesity; these include both surgical and non-surgical methods. Taking the step of introducing the option of surgery is only done on people that are morbidly obese and have tried and failed in all other alternative methods of natural weight loss.

A new technique that is offered before the need for any invasive operation is balloon stomach surgery. The aim of the balloon is to be placed into the stomach, through the mouth to partially fill the stomach so that a patient will require less food to become full.

Being eligible for balloon stomach surgery

Balloon stomach surgery is not suitable for everyone and there are certain criteria that must be met. A consulting GP or surgeon may decide that balloon surgery is unsuitable if the patient has, or has had any illness related to the heart and lungs.

The general criteria that are set to be eligible for the balloon are:

  • The patient is aged 18 or over
  • All other traditional weight loss methods have been tried without success
  • There are no medical or physiological related problems that prevent the operation from going ahead
  • The patient understands that the balloon is not a permanent treatment and that once removed, food intake must be reduced and exercise must be regular.

How is the balloon inserted into the stomach?

Balloon stomach surgery does not require the need for any incisions and can be done under little or no anaesthetic. The technique used is called endoscopic and involves a thin tube being inserted into the stomach via the throat. A silicone balloon is released into the stomach and filled with a substance known as saline, this will limit the amount of food that the stomach can hold but does not affect the digestive system in any way.

Benefits of balloon stomach surgery

There are numerous benefits to balloon stomach surgery when compared to other bariatric surgery techniques.

The first benefit is that the procedure is fully reversible, unlike gastric bypass surgery which permanently changes the size of the stomach. Once the balloon is removed, the stomach is returned to normal.

The technique of inserting the balloon into the stomach involves no cutting of the abdomen or stapling of the stomach, the balloon method is also carried out on an out-patient basis and patients can be in and out of hospital within an hour. This also means no need for overnight hospital stay.

The fact that there is no invasive surgery means that there is no recovery period needed and patients can carry on with daily life immediately after surgery.

A common occurrence with other forms of bariatric surgery is malabsorption; this is not an issue with balloon surgery as no intestines are bypassed in any way. Surgery also has risks of side effects and complications; these are not present with balloon surgery.

Many patients find that, once a balloon has been inserted both quality of sleep and lifestyle are positively affected.