Gastric Band or Balloon? Which Is Best?

Either a Gastric Band or Balloon can help you get down to a healthy weight
Photo by CC user Lazare on Pixabay

Many people want to lose weight, or even need to lose weight in order to stay alive. Not everybody, however, is able to choose between a gastric band or balloon. For instance, their BMI may be under 35, or it may be over 50. In those cases, another solution is available, which is the gastric balloon.

Understanding the Gastric Balloon

Although referred to as a “gastric” balloon, it is actually an intragastric balloon. This refers to a non-surgical procedure whereby people can lose weight if their BMI is too low to be considered for surgery, or too high for them to be able to withstand anesthetic. During the procedure, a silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach through an endoscopic procedure, after which it is filled with a saline solution. The saline balloon then takes up space in the stomach, which means people aren’t able to eat as much, and they feel fuller for longer as well.

During the procedure, people are provided with a mild anesthetic, after which an endoscopy places the deflated balloon into the stomach. Once the surgeon feels the balloon is in the proper place, it is filled with the solution. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete the procedure and the patient is free to go home straight after.

When Can You Have a Gastric Balloon?

The gastric balloon is not suitable for everybody. They must have a BMI of between 27 and 35, or a BMI of 50 or over. Additionally, they must want to lose between 10kg and 15kg at least, and they must experience this weight loss quickly due to their health. In some cases, it is provided to people with a BMI of over 35 but lower than 50 if they have personal reasons to not have to have a full surgical procedure. Usually, if someone has a BMI of 35 or more, they will be offered the gastric band or gastric bypass instead.

Why the Balloon Can Be Better than the Band, and Why it Sometimes Isn’t

There are numerous benefits to having a gastric balloon instead of a gastric balloon. This includes:

  • It is more affordable than the gastric band or gastric bypass.

  • It is a non-permanent solution, as the balloon is removed after six months.

  • People can easily lose between 10kg and 15kg.

For some people, the gastric balloon is not enough. Once the balloon is taken out, they quickly return to their old lifestyle. At that point, they quickly start to put weight on again. It is usually not recommended to return to the balloon time and time again. Depending on the type of balloon that is offered, however, some people will receive extensive support to ensure they are able to make the lifestyle changes that they actually need to lose the weight for good. How this support is offered varies, however, and if you feel weight is starting to creep back after the balloon is removed, it is important to get support sooner rather than later.