Gastric balloon aftercare
What to expect after a gastric balloon procedure
The recovery process is an important part of having any procedure. It is therefore helpful to know what to expect after having a gastric balloon fitted. This gastric balloon aftercare page provides information on what to expect during the recovery process. You will also discuss this with your surgeon during your consultation.
You should try to follow your surgeon’s instructions closely. This will help ensure that the recovery process is as smooth as possible. In addition, it will help reduce the risk of complications occurring. These can have a negative impact on the final result.
As a gastric balloon is minimally invasive, the recovery should be quite straightforward. As a result, you should be able to return to normal activities quickly.
Directly after the procedure
After the gastric balloon has been fitted, you will return to the ward to recover. Once you are on the ward, the medical team will monitor you and check that you do not have any pain. You may feel some numbness or discomfort in your throat. This can be eased with painkillers. In addition, if a sedative is used, you may feel a bit groggy whilst you are on the ward. This will get better as you recover. If you have any issues while you are on the ward, make sure to let the medical team know. They are there for your safety and comfort and will be happy to help.
The majority of patients go home on the day of their procedure. However, in some cases, your surgeon may recommend you spend a night on the ward. They will inform you of this either during your consultation or on the day of your treatment. You should not drive after the procedure. Therefore we suggest speaking to a friend or family member to assist with going home. If you need to arrange transport, we can help with this.
Symptoms after a gastric balloon procedure
After a having your gastric balloon fitted, you may experience some common symptoms. These include imbalance (similar to sea sickness), nausea, gastric discomfort and vomiting. This happens because your stomach has to get used to having the balloon in place. The symptoms generally improve within the first few days. In rare cases, your stomach may not tolerate the balloon and the symptoms may get worse. If this is the case, the balloon will have to be removed.
Returning to work
Overall, you should be able to return to work within one or two days. This will largely depend on how much nausea and discomfort the balloon initially causes. You may want to book more time off work than one or two days, in case it takes longer to recover.
Returning to exercise and activities
Part of a long-term weight loss program will include regular exercise. Therefore it is important you can return to exercise quickly. Thankfully a gastric balloon has minimal downtime and you should be able to return to exercise soon after the procedure. Your levels of nausea and discomfort influences how soon you will be able to return to exercise. Following your surgeon’s dietary advice and recovery instructions will help.
Food and drink
Having a gastric balloon will require you to follow a strict diet regime suggested by your surgeon. As your stomach adapts to having less space, you will have to change what you eat. In the first few days, you will only be able to have liquids. This will then progress to liquids and soft foods and eventually you will be able to have solids again. Your surgeon and dietitian will discuss this with you during your consultation and follow up appointments. If you try to eat more than you should, you may find it will cause discomfort, vomiting and reflux. As a result, it is important you follow the instructions closely.
Follow up appointments
The vast majority of patients will have their gastric balloon as part of a long term weight loss plan. As a result, continuous follow up with your surgeon and weight loss team is an important part of the recovery process. These appointments will include monitoring your weight and discussing your food intake. They may adjust your dietary and exercise requirements depending on your progress.
Long term weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore it may be some time before you reach your target weight. Having a procedure such as a gastric balloon can help on this journey. However it will not be as successful without working closely with your surgeon and their team. Most patients have their gastric balloon removed at six months. In some cases, they may have another balloon fitted or undergo a different procedure. This will depend on how well it has helped you to reach your target goal. The process is likely to be ongoing and is not always easy! However you should remember that your surgeon and their team are there to help you along the way.
We hope you have found this page useful in preparing for a gastric balloon procedure. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact your surgeon or Medbelle Patient Care Adviser.