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Oxford, The Manor Hospital

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Reception and all general enquiries 01865 307777
New treatment enquiries 01865 307750
Diagnostic Imaging (appointments and enquiries) 01865 307 437
Nurses' Station (for inpatients only) 01865 307 579
Physiotherapy (appointments only) 0333 305 7905
Physiotherapy (enquiries) 01865 307 533
Accounts 01865 987 653

Why choose Nuffield Health Oxford Hospital for your gastric balloon treatment?

At Nuffield Health Oxford Hospital, our specialist weight loss surgery team pride themselves on providing treatment that considers all aspects of your health and lifestyle. We work with you to assess your own unique lifestyle, eating habits, dieting history, current weight and medical history. Weight loss surgery is only the beginning of a programme that can deliver lifelong change.

If your thinking about having the less invasive gastric balloon treatment then call our weight loss experts in Oxford to book a consultation, ask any fundamental questions and find out if a gastric balloon is the right for you?

What is a gastric balloon?

  • The balloon system consists of a soft, expandable balloon, a placement tube and a filling system
  • Our surgeon will insert the balloon orally and then expand it with sterile saline fluid, once it is positioned in your stomach
  • When full, the balloon is too large to pass into the bowel and will now float freely in your stomach.

Is a gastric balloon right for me?

If your Body Mass Index (BMI) score is over 32, a gastric balloon may help you to achieve long-term weight loss, and the management of other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

The gastric balloon procedure may be particularly useful for people considered too overweight to undergo vital surgery. The use of the balloon to successfully reduce weight prior to surgery can also help to reduce the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.

Your weight loss consultant in Oxford will confirm your BMI and carry out a detailed assessment, before deciding if you are a suitable candidate for a gastric balloon.

Gastric balloon - The benefits

If the gastric balloon operation is successful, you should be able to achieve long-term weight loss. However this is dependent on your ability to keep to your new lifestyle. Long-term weight loss should improve any obesity-related health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Mobility
  • Self-esteem.

However for most people suffering from obesity the attraction of having a gastric balloon is that it is minimally invasive and does not involve surgery. In fact it can be done as a day case procedure, meaning a minimal interruption to daily life.

Are there any alternatives to gastric balloons at Nuffield Health Oxford Hospital?

There are other surgical options available at our Oxford Hospital, such as a gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or a gastric band. All of these options are major surgical procedures that normally involve a hospital stay. However a gastric balloon has fewer complications in installation and there is a lower risk of serious complications. Recovery in the more invasive procedures is also usually slower.

What does the gastric balloon operation involve?

Gastric balloon installation:

  • The gastric balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth
  • Your surgeon will perform an initial examination of your stomach using an endoscopic camera
  • If no abnormalities are observed, your surgeon will proceed with placement of the balloon through your mouth and down your oesophagus into your stomach
  • The balloon is made of a soft and pliable silicone elastomer material and is inserted while in its smallest, deflated form
  • The swallowing process is made easier with the help of a throat spray which numbs the throat area
  • Muscle relaxing medications are also used
  • Once the balloon is inside your stomach, it is immediately filled with sterile saline through a small filling tube (catheter) attached to the balloon
  • Once filled, your surgeon will remove the catheter by gently pulling on the external end
  • The balloon has a self-sealing valve, and at this point the balloon is floating freely in your stomach
  • Placement times vary, but it will usually take 20-30 minutes, after which you will be monitored by the weight loss surgeon for a short time and then may return home.

How long Is the gastric balloon left in place?

  • The balloon may remain in place for 6 months
  • Over time, the acidic content of the stomach will weaken the balloon material and cause the balloon to deflate so longer periods of use are not recommended
  • Should your surgeon recommend use of the balloon for longer than six months, it may be necessary to replace the balloon with a new one when the six-month interval has been me
  • While the balloon is in place, your surgeon may prescribe a course of oral medication to reduce your stomach acid, (this may reduce the possibility of stomach irritation and damage to the balloon).

Gastric balloon removal

  • The balloon is normally removed in the same way it was placed, via the mouth
  • As with the placement of the balloon your surgeon will introduce a catheter through your mouth and into your stomach
  • They will then puncture and deflate the balloon.
  • Once the balloon is deflated it can be grasped and removed

Specific complications from gastric balloon may include:

  • A feeling of imbalance similar to sea sickness
  • Gastric discomfort, nausea and vomiting are common for the first few days following balloon placement
  • A feeling of heaviness in your abdomen
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Gastro–oesophageal reflux or indigestion may also occur
  • There is a theoretical (and rare) risk that the balloon could rupture. In this case it would usually pass through the bowel and be expelled naturally.

How soon will I recover from the gastric balloon procedure?

  • You should usually be able to go home the same day assuming your have no serious adverse reaction to the balloon
  • In the first few weeks you will only be able to take liquids, progressing to soft food and then to solid food
  • You should be able to return to work after one to two days depending on how your stomach adjusts to having a foreign object present
  • Sometimes the balloon causes nausea but this will normally subside in a day or two.
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