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Gastric balloon

Obesity is a problem that rules the day-to-day lives of many people. It’s no easy matter losing weight by taking pills, going on a diet, etc. And then once weight has been lost, it is often put back on again. It can often be really difficult for someone who is obese to effectively lose weight. There may be various reasons for this, such as difficulty in moving or doing physical exercise as a result of your weight, or perhaps you have a poor self-image and use food as a way of comforting yourself.

So the weight you have lost is put back on again and you fall back into your old habits of eating the wrong kind of food or too much food, and not doing enough exercise. This can be really frustrating. But with a gastric balloon, remarkable results can be achieved within a short space of time. On average men as well as women lose 20% of their weight with a gastric balloon. A gastric balloon may therefore be a solution for you.

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Facts about gastric balloon

  • Duration1 to 1,5 hours
  • Time to recover5 to 7 days

What does a Gastric balloon cost

Rates gastric balloon

  • Gastric balloon half year
  • Gastric balloon 365 days


What is a gastric balloon?

A gastric balloon is a soft silicone balloon that is placed in the stomach via the mouth and oesophagus, to tackle obesity.

Why have a gastric balloon?

For many people, trying to lose weight is a long-term and frustrating process. A gastric balloon is an effective way of not just losing weight but also changing your entire eating patterns and lifestyle.

People who are more than 15 to 20 kilos overweight can lose weight quickly with a gastric balloon. The inflated gastric balloon floats freely in your stomach, so you feel full more quickly. The balloon also slows down the time it takes for the food to get from the oesophagus to the stomach. This means that you eat less, and therefore lose weight. The gastric balloon is a safe method of losing a lot of weight.

But the solution does not just involve placing the gastric balloon in the stomach. The treatment includes extensive nutritional advice from the dietitian who will support you over a six- or twelve-month period. The gastric balloon is therefore only part of the overall course of treatment.

The advantage of a gastric balloon compared with other treatments, such as a gastric band or gastric sleeve, is that no invasive surgery is required to place the gastric balloon. What’s more, the gastric balloon is not permanent. It is removed after 6 or 12 months.

Who has a gastric balloon?

The gastric balloon is an effective solution for anyone who wants to lose a large amount of weight. You are a good candidate for a gastric balloon if you are more than 15-20 kilos overweight. Your excess weight can easily be determined using special scales.

The gastric balloon is also extremely suitable for people trapped in the cycle of switching from one failed diet to another, only to end up putting more weight back on (known as the yo-yo effect). A gastric balloon combined with a diet plan helps to maintain your target weight. The gastric balloon is also a good solution for people who are extremely overweight and do not want to undergo any invasive surgery.


The main alternatives to a gastric balloon are a gastric band and gastric sleeve. The gastric band and gastric sleeve are both surgical procedures, whereas a gastric balloon does not involve any operation. In a gastric band procedure, keyhole surgery is performed to reduce the entrance to the stomach by placing a band/ring around the upper part of the stomach. In a gastric sleeve procedure, keyhole surgery is performed to surgically reduce the size of the stomach and adjust the gastrointestinal tract. This is an invasive surgical procedure. The gastric band as well as the gastric sleeve are riskier procedures than the gastric balloon.


If you are considering having a gastric balloon inserted, you can arrange for a free no-obligation consultation with the dietician. This consultation will take about 30 minutes.


Because everyone is different, the decision about whether you are a good candidate for a gastric balloon and whether it will give you the results you are looking for cannot be made until your consultation.

It is first necessary to discuss how much weight you want to lose with the gastric balloon. After ascertaining your current weight, you can decide, together with the dietician, on a realistically feasible amount of weight to lose.

The dietician will ask you a number of questions, such as your medical history, what medication you are taking and whether you have any allergies.

They will also discuss the pros and cons of the procedure, possible complications and any risks with you. You can ask them any questions you may have during this consultation. The dietician will explain the procedure to you in detail about what is involved before, during and after having a gastric balloon inserted. You may of course ask them any questions you have.

The aim of the consultation is to provide you with as much clarity and detail as possible, so that you can make a well-informed decision about whether to opt for a gastric balloon. If you decide to have a gastric balloon inserted, contact the clinic to arrange an appointment.

Precautionary measures

Our staff will do their utmost to achieve the best possible results for you. Successful results can only be achieved if you are convinced that the treatment can work. During your consultation, the dietician will take you through the applicable precautionary measures.


A de-sensitising throat spray will first be sprayed into the back of your throat to prevent your urge to “gag”. You will then be given a mild sedative, so that you do not feel the gastric balloon being inserted.

Throat spray

Your throat will feel tight once it has been anaesthetised with the throat spray. The throat spray is necessary, because the gastric balloon is inserted down the throat via the mouth.

Mild sedative

You will then be given a mild sedative via a drip in your arm. You will start to feel a bit sleepy and will not be aware of the gastric balloon being inserted. This light sedation shuts off your short-term memory for a while, so you will not remember a thing about the procedure afterwards.

Your stomach must be empty before the procedure, because any food residues may block the doctor’s view when inserting the gastric balloon. The following points must therefore be taken into account before your procedure:

You must fast before the operation. This means that, if your procedure is planned for 12.00 hrs (midday), you must not eat anything as of 24.00 hrs (midnight) the night before. It is a good idea to have a snack between 22.00 and 23.00 hrs the night before, for example toast or a sandwich. It is permitted to drink two glasses of water or tea up to 2 hours before the procedure.

If the gastric balloon procedure is carried out after 12.00 hrs (midday), you are allowed to eat two rusks with jam at 7.00 hrs in the morning. It is permitted to drink two glasses of tea or water up to 2 hours before the procedure.

Going to the clinic

More general advice before you leave for the clinic:

Leave any jewellery and your watch at home or give them to the adult accompanying you. The clinic is not liable for loss or theft.

Wear loose comfortable clothing.

Accompanying adult

Always arrange for someone to bring you to the clinic and then take you home again after the procedure, and to provide any assistance you need at home for the first few days.


Inserting a gastric balloon is a non-surgical outpatient procedure, for which the patient is given a mild sedative.

To examine the condition inside your oesophagus, diaphragm and stomach, we insert a thin tube with a small camera at the end of it through your mouth. Patients who are found to have a hiatus hernia or stomach ulcer cannot be treated with a gastric balloon. If everything looks OK, the doctor can start inserting the gastric balloon.

The doctor inserts an empty rolled-up gastric balloon attached to a filling tube, through your mouth and oesophagus and into your stomach. Once in your stomach, the gastric balloon is inflated with approximately 500 ml of physiological saline solution. The gastric balloon is closed by pulling the filling tube out of the self-sealing valve. The filling tube is then removed again via the oesophagus and mouth. The gastric balloon stays behind in the stomach. It floats freely in the stomach, reducing the volume of the stomach by about two-thirds. The procedure to insert a gastric balloon takes approximately 20 minutes.

Gastric balloon
The gastric balloon is made of a durable, pliable and high-grade silicone material. The outside of the balloon is very smooth, to prevent any damage to the inside of the stomach. We work with water-filled gastric balloons.

Water-filled gastric balloon
The fluid in the water-filled gastric balloon comprises a physiological saline solution and a biocompatible blue dye. Both are harmless to human tissue. The dye is used to detect any leakage. If the gastric balloon leaks, the blue-coloured fluid will leave the body in the normal way, so your urine will be blue/green in colour. If this happens, nothing serious has happened, but you must contact the clinic as soon as possible to have the gastric balloon removed. The risk of leakage is minimal, but if there has been a leak it is important to remove the balloon as soon as possible.

Video animation of gastric balloon procedure at the Boerhaave Medical Centre

After care and recovery


Nausea, vomiting and sometimes stomach cramps may start a couple of hours after the procedure and are normal symptoms for the first few days after having a gastric balloon fitted. In most people, these symptoms will disappear after 2 to 3 days. You will be given a prescription for suppositories to combat cramping and nausea. The body sees the gastric balloon as a foreign object and needs 10 to 14 days to get used to it. Apart from nausea, you may also feel some pain in your shoulders. This happens if the gastric balloon rests against your diaphragm. You will generally have no further problems with the gastric balloon after the first 3 to 4 days post-procedure, as the stomach will have adjusted to the presence of the balloon.

You may have some problems with bad breath and pain in the oesophagus after a gastric balloon procedure. The gastric balloon may disrupt the process of emptying the stomach, which means that food residue is left behind in the stomach. This may cause bad breath. You can deal with this by drinking a lot immediately after meals and if your stomach is empty, and frequently brushing your teeth and tongue.

You will not feel the gastric balloon in your stomach. You will only be reminded that it is there if you move quickly or turn over in bed.


After the procedure, you will be given a prescription for antacids and suppositories to combat pain and nausea. You will be required to take the antacids for the entire six-month period after the procedure. Too much stomach acid may inflame your oesophagus if you vomit. The suppositories are intended to reduce any pain and nausea in the first few days after the procedure.

After care

You play a very important role in the process of ensuring that your treatment is successful. So try to follow the prescribed nutritional advice as closely as possible, keep moving and rest when necessary.


You should take it easy for about 10 days, so that your body has time to get used to the gastric balloon. After 10 days, you can then go back to doing everything you used to do. If your work is very strenuous, it may be better to stay at home for the first week.


The treatment does not end once the gastric balloon has been inserted – it has only just begun. A gastric balloon is only an effective method to tackle obesity if it is applied in combination with a good diet plan and sufficient physical exercise. For the 6 or 12 months for which the gastric balloon is in your body, you will have to adjust your lifestyle and eating patterns. You will be given plenty of support throughout this period by a dietitian at the Boerhaave Medical Centre. Together with the dietitian, you will work out a balanced diet that you should keep following after the gastric balloon has been removed. The dietitian will arrange an appointment with you every 4 weeks. At these appointments, you will be weighed, your diet plan will be discussed and any queries or problems dealt with.

For optimum results, it is important that you adhere to the nutritional advice. This means that you have to keep to a diet of 1000 calories a day. You will have something to eat every 2 hours and will drink before and after each meal.

Once the gastric balloon has been inserted, you will feel fuller more quickly. This may be the case after eating one sandwich. At the start of the treatment, the portions of the prescribed diet plan may be too big. If so, start by eating slightly less and then slowly build up the amount. The most important thing about the diet is the frequency. So try to stick closely to the times allotted for eating. You can of course vary the components of the daily menu. For example, you can swap the piece of fruit at 10.00 hrs with the yoghurt at 16.00 hrs. You will find below a sample daily menu of 1000 calories, to give you some idea of what the diet plan involves.

Sample daily menu of 1000 calories*

08.00 hrs 1 slice of brown or wholemeal bread or 2 slices of brown crispbread, unbuttered.
Topping: 20+/30+ cheese (spread) or low-fat processed meat or jam.
1 glass of buttermilk or semi-skimmed milk or Mona Optimel drink or 1 glass of unsweetened fruit juice
10.00 hrs 1 piece of fruit
12.00 hrs 1 slice of brown or wholemeal bread or 2 slices of brown crispbread, unbuttered.
Topping: 20+/30+ cheese (spread) or low-fat processed meat or jam.
Salad, to taste
1 glass of buttermilk or semi-skimmed milk or Mona Optimel drink.
14.00 hrs 1 piece of fruit
16.00 hrs 1 bowl of low-fat yoghurt or Mona Optimel yoghurt or 1 cup of clear soup (e.g. clear tomato soup, vegetable soup, chicken soup).
18.00 hrs 75g (cooked) low-fat meat or fish or chicken.
When cooking, you may use 10g of frying or cooking fat/margarine or 1 spoonful of oil
1 potato or 1 serving spoonful of wholegrain or multigrain rice or wholegrain macaroni.
200g of vegetables or salad (some of the vegetables/salad may already have been eaten at lunchtime or as a between-meal snack).
20.00 hrs 1 piece of fruit or 1 bowl of low-fat yoghurt or Mona Optimel yoghurt.

* Note: This is a sample menu and not one that has been drawn up especially for you. Nutritional advice can only be prepared specifically for you in consultation with the dietitian.

Physical exercise

You cannot do enough physical exercise. After the procedure, you will be able to do almost any form of movement or exercise. Try to ride your bike instead of taking the car. And just walk more. A daily walk is good for your fitness and metabolism.


It is important to weigh yourself every week, so that you can keep a close eye on the results of the treatment. Stand on the scales and make a note of your weight. You will be given a special booklet to enter your weight in. If you do not have any scales, you can get yourself weighed at your GP practice, or if necessary you can also come to our clinic.


In the period after the gastric balloon has been inserted, you will return to the clinic a number of times. The first appointment with the dietitian is made immediately after the procedure to insert the gastric balloon, before you leave the clinic. After that, the dietitian will make an appointment to see you every 4 weeks, to weigh you and deal with any queries or problems you may have. Six or twelve months after the gastric balloon is inserted, you will have an appointment with the doctor to have it removed. It is important that you continue to keep your weight under control after this procedure. We therefore require patients to send a reply card to the clinic with their weight written on it on two occasions. Once, six months after the gastric balloon has been removed, and once, six months after that. In this way, we can keep an eye on your treatment.

Removing the gastric balloon

Removing the gastric balloon

Six or twelve months after the gastric balloon is inserted, you will have an appointment with the doctor to have it removed. This timeframe is chosen because it is the amount of time for which the manufacturer guarantees no leakage of the gastric balloon in the stomach. If, after it has been in place for a long time, the gastric balloon starts leaking as a result of deterioration from stomach acid, there is a risk that it may pass through the body. If it does, it may get stuck in the small bowel where it could cause an obstruction. It may then be necessary to have surgery.

It is therefore really important to have the gastric balloon removed by the doctor on time, after 6 or 12 months.

Exactly the same precautions are to be taken when having the gastric balloon removed as for when having it inserted. So the same rules apply about fasting before the procedure.

The gastric balloon is removed in the same way as it is inserted. The doctor will use a gastroscope to puncture and deflate the gastric balloon, and then remove it. You will not remember a thing about this procedure either, as you will again be given a mild sedative.

Once the gastric balloon has been removed, your throat may feel sorer than when the balloon was inserted. This is because removing the balloon is in the opposite direction to the natural swallowing motion, so it is a slightly more complicated manoeuvre.


With a gastric balloon, remarkable results can be achieved within just 6 to 12 months. Women as well as men lose an average of 20% of their body weight.

However, a gastric balloon will only give long-term results if you keep to your new eating patterns and lifestyle after the 6- of 12-month period. This includes doing enough physical exercise. Don’t be tempted to start eating more again than you did when you had the gastric balloon inserted. If you fall back into your old eating patterns and lifestyle, there is a risk you will put on the weight you have lost.

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