Intra-gastric balloons

IGB drawnWhat are they?

If we eat too much, why can’t we just fill up our stomach with something?  A very good question…  And we can.  Intra-gastric balloons are small (250-750ml) inflatable balloons.  They are made of plastic or silastic materials and are placed in the stomach (1 to 3 balloons depending on type), whilst collapsed and then inflated.  Our traditional balloon is the BIB.  The Obalon balloon is a new, smaller, lighter balloon system.  They usually make you less hungry and become full very quickly.

What does the surgery involve?

The balloons are placed either using a camera (gastroscope) placed through the mouth or by swallowing and x-ray check (“radiologically”).  These are left in place for 3 to 6 months and can be replaced and have effect for up to a total of a year.

How well will I do?

They result in an average weight loss of about 5 to 15%.  Some patients are nauseous for some days after the balloon is placed.  We will help you with advice and medications.

What is my recovery like?

Usually patients remain in hospital overnight but some may go home the same day.  You will be able to go back to work and to drive within a few days, once any nausea has settled.  You will be followed up by the dietitian and the surgeon.  The balloons are removed through the mouth using a camera.  The challenge is to maintain the weight loss achieved.  Those most likely to succeed are lighter patients and those who make significant lifestyle, eating behaviour and activity changes.

Obalon balloon®

The Obalon intra-gastric balloon system is suitable for patients who have at least a BMI of 27kg/m2.  The balloons are swallowed attached to a thin tube and then inflated with air in the stomach.  their position is checked using x-ray.  Over a 12 week period up to 3 balloons (250ml each) are placed in the stomach.  At the end of this period they are removed using a camera (gastroscope) passed through the mouth.  This will usually require a small amount of sedation.  We would expect an average of 8% weight loss.

Packages and prices

Balloon packages are offered in partnership with BMI Healthcare.  The BMI Healthcare website should be consulted for any price or package changes and the following is a description at the time of writing only.  The package price includes consultation with the dietitian and surgeon, pre-assessment and anaesthetic assessment, the procedure and associated hospital stay, the management of any problems in the first 30 days after the procedure, consultations with the dietitian and surgeon after the procedure and admission for removal of the balloon at the appropriate timescale.

  • Initial BMI Healthcare Bariatric Enquiry Centre appointment with dietitian      £50
  • BIB balloon package                                                                                   from £3,995