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Gastric Band or Gastric Balloon?

by David Keogh, March 4th, 2014

We get quite a number of enquiries from patients who are unsure whether they would be more suited towards a gastric band program or a gastric balloon program. Most of the these enquiries are made from people that donít know the differences between both programs, so I have decided to outline the main differences in this blog.

A gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure during which a deflated balloon is passed down into the stomach through the mouth, where it is then inflated. During this time, the patient is given a mild sedative, but they are not under general anaesthetic. The procedure usually takes around 15-20 minutes and the patient can go home a few hours later.

A gastric band is placed during a surgical procedure through laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). The patient is under general anaesthetic for the duration of the procedure which usually takes around 35 minutes. In general, it involves an over-night stay, however, many of our patients choose to go home on the same day, provided they are feeling well.

Whilst both options are based around weight loss, the differences are quite substantial. Firstly, a gastric balloon is a temporary device. The balloon is removed from the patientsí stomach after 6 months, using the same technique that was used to place it. The gastric band is a permanent device which is designed to stay in for life. The average weight loss of both programs differ quite a bit, with a gastric balloon producing an average weight loss of around 2.5-3 stone within 6 months and a gastric band producing an average weight loss of around 5 stone within the first 12 months. With our gastric band program, many of our patients have lost as much as 10 stone within the first 12 months, depending on how much excess weight they have.

The main advantages to a gastric balloon is that its non-surgical and involves no anaesthetic. In addition to that, its removed after the 6 months, meaning that no device is left inside you. The main disadvantages of the gastric balloon are that, after 6 months, weight loss slows down quite a bit. In addition to this, once the balloon is removed, the patient has the ability to go back to eating large portions, if they wish.

The main advantages of the gastric band are higher, sustained weight loss and the adjustability of a gastric band. The gastric band is a permanent device which can help patients for the rest of their lives. Patients find it allot easier to maintain their weight loss with a gastric band. In addition to this, the gastric band is adjustable, meaning that it can be tightened or loosened to suit your individual needs, whenever necessary. The main disadvantage of a gastric band is that itís a surgical procedure, although minimally invasive. Whilst a small number of people consider having a device inside them as a disadvantage, the majority of patients consider this to be one of the biggest reasons why they have the procedure, because they know that there is something at their stomach to stop them if they try to go over-board with eating, which is a comfort to them.

So there you have it, the main differences between a gastric balloon and a gastric band!

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Meet Dave
Dave Blog Picture Hi guys my name is Dave and I am the weight loss surgery co-ordinator for Auralia Weight loss Clinic. To give you a brief
introduction to myself, I am an extremely enthusiastic individual and I love to challenge myself to achieve higher targets. I personally know what it is like to lose weight having lost almost 5 stone in one year following a diet and exercise plan which I developed myself. Since then, I have developed an enormous interest in weight loss and I get great satisfaction knowing that I am helping other people achieve their target weights. I love playing sports and I have coaching qualifications in many various activities including rugby and Olympic weight lifting. I have also represented Ireland on a number of occasions in tenpin bowling. The aim of this blog is to give an insight as to what weight loss surgery is actually like, whether that is the gastric band or the gastric balloon. Every week or so I will post a new blog.


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