diet & weight loss

What does a gastric balloon procedure involve, and what are the potential complications?

A gastric balloon is a popular alternative to more invasive forms of obesity surgery such as gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. The treatment is clinically proven to reduce hunger, and therefore encourage considerable weight loss. This quick, low risk treatment has helped some women lose up to 40% of their body mass. However, the balloon is only a short term solution as it lasts just six months before removal is required.

The procedure
The treatment involves inserting the balloon via a long tube which is then then inflated with saline. This has the effect of partially filling the stomach and therefore encouraging the feeling of fullness. The balloon will remain in the stomach for 6 months, before being deflated and removed via the same tube. The procedure takes less than thirty minutes, and only mild sedation is used. An an overnight stay in hospital is not necessary as you should be able to leave just a few hours after the treatment. More details on the balloon procedure.

Risks and side effects
The risks of a gastric balloon are somewhat less than those associated with other obesity procedures. However, things can and sometime do go wrong. Possible complications include leakage or bursting of the balloon, rupture or bleeding in the stomach, or a whole host of more minor gastric complaints such as acid reflux. More information on the possible side effects of the treatment.

Cost and prices
A gastric balloon programme costs in the region of £4,500 to £7,000 in the UK. Prices vary significantly from clinic to clinic. The procedure can cost up to 40% less in counties such as Turkey, Croatia or South Africa. More details on the typical costs of the balloon procedure.

NHS treatment
In some instances, the gastric balloon procedure is carried out on the NHS but the treatment is not as common as other obesity treatments. Your surgical team would need to be convinced that this was the best form of treatment for your particular situation. Find out more about NHS treatment.

Private clinics
You can have the balloon procedure at a number of private clinics both in the UK and abroad. There are numerous excellent obesity specialists and cosmetic clinics providing weight loss surgery throughout the United Kingdom. More information on gastric balloons in the UK.

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Diet & Weight Loss