Often, the gastric balloon and gastric band procedures are easily confused. It is true that these are two restrictive bariatric surgery techniques whose objective is to restrict the capacity of the stomach of the patient so that he/she feels satiated more quickly, thus getting the patient to eat less food, which makes it easier for patients to lose weight and change their eating habits for healthier ones.
However, each of these techniques are used for different cases, depending on the patient’s physical condition, body mass index (BMI) and long-term goals, among other factors. It is therefore the specialist who will evaluate each case and recommend the patient the most appropriate procedure.
Next, we indicate the characteristics and differences of each of these treatments.
The gastric balloon is used for patients with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 27 to 35, and consists of introducing a balloon inside the stomach, which once inside is inflated to the appropriate size and sealed, leaving less space for food and causing the patient to feel satiated more quickly.
The introduction of the gastric balloon into the stomach is performed through an endoscopic procedure through the esophagus that does not require any incisions (so it is less invasive). This is done under local anesthesia or mild sedation, it only takes about 20 minutes, and the patient is discharged on the same day.
The gastric balloon is left in the patient’s stomach only for 6 months and while it remains there it is not adjustable. After spending 6 months the gastric balloon is removed.
Because of this, the gastric balloon procedure requires a greater commitment on the part of the patient to change their eating habits during and after the use of the gastric balloon, and thus not recover the lost weight once it has been removed.
The gastric band is recommended for patients with BMI greater than 35 and require significant weight loss, so it is used in more severe cases of obesity than for those who use the gastric balloon.
In this case, the procedure consists of placing a band around the upper part of the stomach, so that it compresses the stomach separating it into two parts between which there is a narrow passage: a small compartment on the upper part, and the rest of the stomach in the lower one. In this way, the first smaller space controls and limits the amount of food eaten, and the narrow passage makes the stomach take longer to empty. In this way the patient has a feeling of fullness with a smaller amount of food, which leads him/her to eat less and lose weight.
The gastric band is placed through laparoscopic surgery, which is performed under general anesthesia, and lasts about an hour. After surgery, the patient must remain hospitalized until the next day, spending the night after surgery in the hospital.
The gastric band is adjustable, being able to tighten more or less to restrict more or less the appetite and the food intake, and therefore the speed with which weight is lost as necessary later. The procedure is also reversible, the gastric band can be removed and / or replaced if necessary.
Postoperative and follow-up after gastric balloon or gastric band procedures
In any case, both treatments require that the patient still make some effort on their part to change their eating habits and get that weight loss achieved is really effective. For this, after any of these procedures, a medical check-up that includes specialists in nutrition is carried out regularly, to ensure that the patient loses weight and does not recover it again later.
If you are interested in any of these procedures for weight loss, at Vithas Xanit International Hospital we offer our patients the gastric balloon and gastric banding procedures, as well as other bariatric weight loss techniques, such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, depending on the case, once the patient’s condition has been evaluated by our expert specialists. Contac us if you want more information or make an appointment.