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How Do Gastric Balloons Work?

The popularity of weight loss surgery has surged in the last decade as it becomes more affordable and accessible. One of the most popular weight loss procedures is a gastric band procedure, but can a surgery really help a person to lose weight? Is it safe? What exactly is a gastric balloon and how does it make people lose weight?

When patients have a BMI below the requirement for gastric band surgery, they’re eligible for a gastric balloon. It’s a simple procedure where a silicon balloon is inserted orally into the stomach. With the balloon inside patients experience rapid weight loss. Their loss of appetite is due to the device taking up so much space in the stomach.

The implant will rarely deflate before it has been scheduled to be removed. When the balloon is first inserted into the system it is filled with a saline solution and a blue dye so that if it is punctured or deflated it will dye urine. In case of premature deflation, patients should contact their doctors immediately. In rare instances it is possible that a patient may defecate the gastric inflation out of their system.

A 2008 study of gastric balloons showed that only 4% of test subjects required an early removal of the balloon. As a group, patients lost 12.5% of their original weight. Columbia University’s study showed patients with an 8% loss of weight over a 3 month period for subjects who did not diet. Those that dieted as well as received a balloon lost 16%. Many patients weight loss was permanent, even months after the balloon had been removed.

Physicians will prescribe drugs to help gastric altered patients deal with the 24-48 hour period of loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting after receiving a gastric balloon. Because the side effects are mild and the success rate is high, the procedure and device are effective short-term weight loss solutions.

Nucleus Healthcare is a purpose built gastroenterology hospital. They are the only stand alone private gastroenterology hospital in the UK to provide patients with a uniquely comprehensive service, offering all gastroenterology procedures and investigations and surgery within one hospital. 15 minutes from the centre of Cardiff, Nucleus Healthcare was opened in January 2008. There are 2 floors covering a total of 27,000 square feet. Inspected and accredited by Health Inspectorate Wales, the hospital provides a wide range of gastroenterology investigations, treatments, laparoscopic surgery and weight loss procedures in a state of the art and patient orientated environment..

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