Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
Recovering from a gastric balloon procedure is a little different than it is for other cosmetic surgery. There are actually two procedures to recover from – the placement of the weight-loss balloon, and the removal six months later. Both are minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedures. As such, they are rather easy to recover from. There are no sutures to heal, and the mild sedative does not have any lingering effects like the kind of anesthesia needed for a surgical procedure.
During the 6 months that patients keep the gastric balloon in their stomach, they adjust to a life with less impulse eating and smaller portion sizes. This is not really a “recovery” period, but it is a period of adjustment nonetheless. It is a training period for learning new eating habits so that the weight loss achieved while wearing the balloon remains permanent after its removal.
“The procedure was very simple and very easy and didn’t take very long.”Jennifer M, NuBody Concepts Orbera gastric balloon patient.
Recovering From a Non-Surgical Procedure
The gastric balloon is a minimally-invasive gastric procedure which is performed endoscopically. This means that it is easier – and faster – to recover from than full-fledged surgery.
Both balloon placement and removal are performed under targeted IV sedation. This is comparable to having your wisdom teeth removed, or having a colonoscopy – much easier to recover from than general anesthesia. It only lasts for the 20-30 minutes it takes to insert or remove the balloon and is performed on an outpatient basis.
In addition, a gastric balloon procedure does not require the placement of sutures. There are no incisions in the skin. The deflated balloon is inserted and removed through the patient’s mouth via a thin scope. This means there is no wound care afterwards that might prohibit you from pursuing your daily activities.
Your Recovery After Gastric Balloon Placement
The following information is applicable to the placement of the Orbera balloon:
1. Directly after the procedure
Following your pre-op instructions, you will have arranged for a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure. This is to ensure your safety while the sedative is still in your system. You are encouraged to keep a responsible adult with your for the rest of the day after your procedure.
2. First Day
Make sure you get plenty of rest the first day, but also move around approximately every hour to promote circulation and prevent the formation of blood clots.
It is very important to drink plenty of fluids. Stay on a liquid diet for the first 24 hours.
3. Second Day
On day 2, you can advance your diet to soft foods (yogurt or smoothies). We suggest you do this slowly, and if you experience nausea or vomiting at any time, return to full liquids. Once you tolerate the soft foods, you can advance to a regular diet.
4. First Week
You can expect to experience nausea and possibly vomiting for 3-5 days following your procedure as the stomach gets accustomed to having the balloon in place. Your nausea medication (Zofran) will help alleviate some of the nausea. Sleeping slightly elevated and lying on your left side can also provide comfort.
Once you have advanced to a regular diet, avoid liquids 30-60 minutes before meals. Eat your protein first and delay drinking until after your meal. You want to fill the stomach with nutritious food that will keep you from feeling hungry for an extended period of time. If you drink first, you will feel full too soon.
5. Next 6 Months
Over the course of 6 months, your surgeon or patient care manager will be in touch with you at regular intervals to make sure everything is going smoothly and to measure your weight loss progress. If you signed up for a dietician program, a licensed dietician will help you with meal planning and approved recipes. With the Orbera balloon you can sign up for Apollo Care, a comprehensive 12-month coaching program.
Most patients lose the bulk of their weight in the first 2-3 months. The 6 month period has been shown to be the ideal training time for you to learn new eating habits. The balloon, by taking up space in your stomach, will reduce the feeling of hunger and lead to smaller portion sizes during meals. Once these new habits are learned they tend to stay with you in the long term, even after the balloon is removed.
Your Recovery After Balloon Removal
Recovering from gastric balloon removal is even easier than after placement. You won’t experience any nausea and should be able to return to a regular diet the next day. The only constraint is that you will once again need to arrange for a driver to take you home after your procedure, since you won’t be allowed to operate machinery while the sedation wears off.
Our team here at NuBody Concepts will not only support you for the 6 months you have the balloon, but also for 6 months after the balloon is removed.
Maintaining Results After Gastric Ballon Removal
What’s so great about weight loss with a gastric balloon is that losing so much weight in such a short amount of time gives you new energy, allowing for a more active lifestyle. This makes it easier to maintain your results. We find that most of our patients get newly motivated to pursue a healthier lifestyle incorporating more activity and exercise, thus helping them to keep the weight off permanently.
You will also have adopted new eating habits that will stay with you after removal of the balloon. The more discipline your continue to exercise with your diet, the more likely you’ll be to keep the weight off. Put vegetables and high fiber foods front and center while restricting the sweets, and enjoy your new waistline for years to come.
We also recommend that you engage in a regular exercise program to encourage blood flow – simply move regularly to elevate your heart rate, whether it’s with a daily walk, a bi-weekly gym visit, or by joining a pickle-ball league.
We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding about gastric balloon recovery. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
If you are ready to get started, simply self-schedule a consultation with our gastric surgeon in Nashville. Make sure you ask us about our travel package as well as a virtual consultation if you are not within easy driving distance.