Which are better for weight loss, Gastric balloons or Gastric bands?

Losing weight can be extremely difficult, especially when you have a high BMI and find it difficult to exercise. There are many reasons why you may have gained weight and there is no shame in admitting when you need help. If you are considering a gastric balloon or a gastric band it is important to understand how they differ, to be able to understand which may be the best solution for your own weight loss journey.

What is the difference between a Gastric Balloon and a Gastric Band?

A Gastric Balloon does not involve surgery, the soft silicone balloon is inserted into your stomach, deflated and filled with a sterile saline solution. A Gastric Balloon can only remain in place for 6 months, however, this is normally long enough to trigger substantial weight loss and put in place steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

A Gastric Band involves surgery to insert a silicone band around the top part of the stomach. This can remain in place for as long as required to reach a healthy BMI. Gastric bands are the preferred method for bariatric surgery with a high success rate. They are also reversible and less invasive than a Gastric sleeve or Gastric bypass operation.

Gastric Balloon Procedure

The procedure is very simple and only lasts approx. 15 minutes and is normally performed with a mild anaesthetic. If you are feeling nervous you can ask for sedation, which would normally be given in tablet form prior to the procedure. You will be able to return to normal, daily activities immediately after having a Gastric balloon, although you may experience some mild complications, for a few days after the procedure. When the balloon expands in the stomach it occupies space to limit how much food you can consume and reduces how often you feel hungry.

Eating after a Gastric Balloon

After having a Gastric balloon it is important to avoid fluids or foods with high sugar content. For the first 24 hours after the procedure, you will only be able to consume fluids. The following day you will be able to start eating soft food. Normally you will then progress onto solid foods the next day.

Gastric Band Procedure (bariatric surgery)

A Gastric Band also referred to as Gastric Banding procedure, can be performed under a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic and twilight (IV) sedation. The procedure involves the insertion of a silicone band through one and five incisions in the abdomen. The band sections off the top section of the stomach. On average the procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes. You will normally be able to go home on the same day and return to normal activities within 2 to 7 days. The Gastric Band sections off the stomach to limit the available space for food and in the same way as a Gastric balloon works by limiting how much food you can consume and reduces how often you feel hungry. Over time it is essential to adjust the gastric band via a keyhole procedure.

Eating after a Gastric Band

For the first 48 hours after the procedure, you will only be able to consume fluids. For the next 4 weeks, you should only consume liquids and blended foods. From 4 to 6 weeks you can gradually introduce soft food back into your diet. After 6 weeks you will normally be able to progress onto solid foods.

Suitability for a Gastric Balloon or a Gastric Band?

A Gastric Balloon is often the preferred option for patients due to being non-invasive and simple to remove. Gastric Balloons can only remain in place for 6 months which may not be long enough for a patient with a higher BMI who may not be able to lose enough weight in this time period.

A Gastric Band may be recommended to patients needing to lose a lot of weight over a longer time span with a BMI (body mass index) over 30. Careful consideration needs to be made as to whether a Gastric Balloon should be tried first, due to the invasive nature and higher risks involved with Gastric Band surgery.

Risks and complications of Gastric Balloons and Gastric Bands

acid reflux - heartburn and stomach ulcers nausea and, or vomiting back pain abdominal pain

Additional Risks and complications of Gastric Bands

• Gastric Bands may need to be replaced or removed if they slip or erode • The port may need to be replaced if it moves out of place • Damage to abdominal organs • Hernia • Infection • Gastrointestinal scarring may cause a bowel blockage • Allergy to general anaesthetic

Which specialists can provide Gastric Balloons and Gastric Bands?

General Medical Council-registered Bariatric Surgeon

Questions to ask prior to having a Gastric Balloon or a Gastric Band

• Why are you recommending a Gastric Balloon or a Gastric Band? • How many Gastric Balloon or Gastric Band procedures have you performed in the past 12 months? • How many patients had complications after having a Gastric Balloon or Gastric band? • Does the price include all aftercare and surgery if required due to complications? • Do you provide any dietary advice and support?

Liposuction or liposculpture after weight loss with a Gastric Balloon or a Gastric Band

Gastric Balloons or Gastric Bands can both be extremely effective for weight loss. One issue that can result from either a Gastric Balloon or a Gastric Band is that when weight is lost quickly you may still be left with pockets of stubborn fat. Liposuction or liposculpture can offer a solution to further improve your contours and remove stubborn fat permanently to give you the overall body shape, you have worked so hard to achieve.

To find out about liposuction procedures please click on the link below to access our previous blog.


Posted on Jun 19, 2020

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