What to expect after a gastric balloon

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The gastric balloon is a temporary weight loss surgery tool to help you change your diet and lifestyle and support you in reaching your health and weight goals. Once the gastric balloon is fitted in your stomach you’ll have less available space for food. Your stomach will fill up more quickly when you eat, stimulating the receptors in the stomach wall to tell your brain that you are full. Smaller meals will satisfy you and eating less will result in weight loss. If you couple smaller meals with an increasing amount of regular exercise then your weight loss will be more rapid.

You must be committed maintaining your new healthy eating habits and lifestyle. The gastric balloon will be removed after six to twelve months and will immediately increase your capacity to eat larger portions. So the long term success of a gastric balloon is dependent on you continuing to eat less food, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping up with your new lifestyle and exercise programme once the balloon has been removed.

Your diet

Once your gastric balloon is inserted you’ll begin a fluid only diet for three days. You must drink small sips of caffeine free liquid regularly that amount to about eight cups each day to prevent you from dehydration. Water is the best fluid.

From days four to ten you will eat soft foods. You must also continue to drink eight cups of fluid in between meals.

After day ten you can eat normal textured foods again. However your new diet will be controlled to ensure it’s healthy, provides plenty of energy and prevents you from dehydrating. You should aim to eat three healthy meals each day with a maximum calorie daily intake of 1200kcal. Eat slowly, always chew your food well and stop as soon as you’re satisfied. Avoid drinking and eating at the same time as this may cause you to fill up too quickly, feel bloated or vomit.

Some foods such as pasta and soft bread may stick to your gastric balloon. If this happens you’ll need to rinse off the balloon with a few sips of water thirty minutes after mealtimes.

Your lifestyle

You’ll be advised to embrace a new lifestyle once your intragastric balloon is inserted to help with your weight loss. You should start taking regular exercise immediately such as a daily ten minute walk to create a healthy routine. As you feel healthier and fitter you should increase the distance and intensity. When you feel ready, you may include a variety of exercises in your programme that increase your endurance, flexibility and strength. Chose physical activities that you enjoy as you will be more likely to continue doing them.

Exercise plays a critical role in helping gastric balloon patients to achieve long term success in their goals to lose and maintain weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

Keeping going

This is lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. You may go through a rollercoaster of emotions whilst you’re losing weight such as frustration, anxiety, loss and excitement. A support network of your family, friends or a support group might help. Always celebrate your milestones. Losing considerable excess weight is an amazing achievement. Once you’ve reached your desired weight ensure you continue with your new lifestyle and diet to maintain it.

On average people lose between 20 and 30% of their excess weight with a gastric balloon but the amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes. However, the amount of weight lost by each patient will vary depending on an individuals circumstances.

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