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Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric Balloon

at Cadogan Clinic, London’s Leading Cosmetic Surgery Specialists. 

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Best Clinic Aesthetics Awards 2024

We were awarded Best Clinic London at the industry-leading 2024 Aesthetics Awards.

CQC ‘Outstanding’ Leadership

Our Leadership is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the independent healthcare regulator in England.

20 Years of Medical Distinction

We’re now entering our third decade at the top of our field, with over 100 of the country’s best consultants under our roof.

96% Customer Excellence Rating

We support 30,000 patient appointments each year, 96% of which were rated 5*.

Medically Reviewed January 2024, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons

What is a Gastric Balloon?

Gastric balloon is a weight loss procedure that involves placing a saline-filled balloon into the stomach, filling a large area and making less room for food.

Gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure, meaning there are no cuts, wounds or scars, and it is an excellent way to lose weight quickly and safely.

This weight loss treatment is ideal for people who have tried to lose weight through dieting, without success. A gastric balloon can be used as an alternative to weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve and gastric band, or it can be used as part of a staged treatment plan. For example, a gastric balloon may be a good option if you are too heavy or too high risk for weight loss surgery.

A gastric balloon is only a temporary measure and once the balloon is removed, you will have adapted to smaller portion sizes and developed new, healthier, eating habits. You will receive support once the balloon has been deflated to help you maintain these new habits and avoid slipping back into the old ones and putting back on the weight you have lost.

Unlike a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass, a gastric balloon makes no permanent alterations to the structure or function of the stomach.

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Why do people have it?

The primary goal of a gastric balloon is to lose weight and cut the risk of serious health conditions, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnoea and infertility. Losing weight with a gastric balloon can also reduce the pressure on the joints, reducing the risk of joint pain and damage to the joints.

People who are overweight or obese feel self-conscious about their weight which triggers anxiety and depression. It also means they are likely to avoid certain social situations. Losing weight via gastric balloon usually results in a marked improvement in a person’s mental health.

Losing weight via a temporary gastric balloon can also be used to lose excess weight in preparation for weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass.

Who is suitable?

You must have a BMI (body mass index) of 27 (overweight) or higher. The gastric balloon can be used to lose weight ahead of surgery and can sometimes be used as an alternative for patients who do not want to have surgery or do not meet the recommended minimum weight guidelines for surgery. Your surgeon must be satisfied that you are in good mental health ahead of the procedure.

You are not suitable for a gastric balloon if you have previously had gastric surgery, including any anti-reflux surgery. You will also not be considered if you have had a hiatus hernia measuring 5cm or above, a blood clotting disorder, severe liver disease, a potentially bleeding lesion of the upper gastrointestinal tract or any other medical condition that means you cannot undergo an endoscopy. A gastric balloon is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women and anyone who is planning a pregnancy.

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The cost of Gastric Balloon

Cadogan Clinic has collaborated with Chrysalis Finance to offer a variety of payment choices for our patients including:
12 months 0% Interest-free - APR
24 - 60 months at 12.9% APR
Flexible Finance

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How does a Gastric Balloon work?

The gastric balloon is gently guided through the mouth and down the throat into the stomach. Once in place, the gastric balloon is filled with saline solution. This makes the balloon expand and take up more room in the stomach, meaning there is less room for food and you feel fuller more quickly. As a result, you will need to cut down on your portion sizes. A gastric balloon is typically around 700ml in volume and is made from a specially designed silicone that cannot be damaged by stomach acid.

A gastric balloon may be in situ for four or six months. During this time, you will lose around three times the weight that you would normally expect to lose through other methods, such as exercising and dieting. You should concentrate on eating healthily, avoiding fatty and sugary foods and snacking, to ensure that you enjoy the very best results from your gastric balloon procedure.

Once the gastric balloon has been removed, you will be given a support package as part of your aftercare to make sure you keep the weight off by making healthy lifestyle choices. This support will last for up to 18 months.

Depending on the type of balloon, the balloon may be deflated and then removed via the mouth. Alternatively, the balloon may be designed to deflate on its own before passing naturally through the digestive tract.

A gastric balloon is only a temporary measure and the procedure itself does not change the structure of your stomach. Unlike gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, no surgical incisions are needed and there are no lasting physical changes to your body.

What to expect

Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.

The first step for all of our patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation.

At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible.

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure.

Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission)

A gastric balloon is introduced into the body via the mouth. The procedure is not carried out under a general anesthetic. Instead you will be given a sedative to help you feel comfortable during the introduction of the balloon.

The surgeon will inspect your stomach using a camera to make sure there are no abnormalities, such as a large hiatus hernia or an ulcer. They will then use a long tube called an endoscope to guide the deflated balloon through the mouth, down the throat and into the stomach. The tube fills the balloon with saline before it is detached and removed, leaving the balloon in place. Alternatively, you may be given a swallowable gastric balloon in a capsule to take with a glass of water. A tube will then be used to fill the balloon with saline solution while in the stomach.

The procedure will take around 20 minutes from start to finish.

The gastric balloon procedure is done as a day case, which means you can go home on the same day. When you do leave the clinic, you must leave accompanied by a responsible friend or family member.

Once the gastric balloon is in place, you will need to adhere to a strict diet for the first few days.

For the first 24 hours you should only take sips of fluids such as water, clear soups and cordial juices. For days two to five you can eat broth, soup, jelly and liquidised food. On day six you will be able to eat semi-solid foods before finally progressing to a calorie-controlled diet. You should follow your diet plan issued by the consultant as closely as possible.

As well as eating a healthy diet, you should also participate in a healthy level of physical activity in order to help you lose weight. You should try an activity that matches your ability, such as cycling, swimming or walking.

After gastric balloon treatment, you will need to take regular medication to suppress stomach acid. A number of people will also need anti-emetic medication for nausea for around one week after the insertion of the balloon. You may also need to take antispasmodic drugs for cramps for a short time immediately after the procedure.

As part of your treatment with the Cadogan Clinic, you will have access to 24/7 on-call nurse assistance for the duration of your recovery.

The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us

We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journey

The Patient Journey

Frequently Asked Questions

A gastric balloon results in substantial and rapid weight loss, which leads to major improvement to both physical and mental health.

By losing excess weight with the help of a gastric balloon, this can help improve cardiovascular health, cutting the risk of heart disease and stroke. This weight loss procedure can also help cut the risk of cancer and prompt obesity-related illness and disease to go into remission, including type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Losing weight via gastric balloon can help to reduce the pressure on the bones, cutting the risk of fractures and osteoarthritis, alleviating joint pain and stopping joint problems from developing in the hips, knees, ankles, feet and shoulders.

Weight loss associated with a gastric balloon can also help to improve fertility, cut miscarriage risk and reduce pregnancy complications in women.  

Gastric balloon procedures can have a huge positive impact on psychological health and wellbeing too. People who are overweight, obese or morbily obese suffer a higher rate of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. They may choose to avoid certain social situations or certain activities such as swimming, which will expose the body. This can also have a negative impact on intimate relationships too. This all feeds into mental ill health.

Because there is no surgery involved with a gastric balloon, this means there are no surgical incisions and no scars. Unlike gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, there is no permanent change to the size or shape of the stomach.

Weight loss varies from person to person. But as a rule, if you have a gastric balloon fitted, you should expect to lose up to a third of your excess body weight. The average gastric balloon weight loss is two to three stone, with the majority of this weight loss happening within the first three months of the procedure.

However you must eat healthily and exercise if you want to see the benefit of your gastric balloon procedure. Avoid filling up on high calorie, high carbohydrate, fatty and sugary foods and drinks. It is uncommon for people with a gastric balloon not to lose any weight, but these lifestyle modifications are a crucial part of the process.

A gastric balloon is a highly effective weight loss method. The bulk of the weight lost with a gastric balloon happens in the first three months and beyond this the balloon helps to support healthy eating patterns and acts as an effective form of portion control. This helps to instil healthy habits so you can continue to shed the pounds after the balloon has been deflated and removed.

Although it is possible to lose as much as a third of your excess weight, one in five patients with a gastric balloon may not see a significant reduction in weight. But following your post procedure weight loss plan carefully will help you to make the most of your gastric balloon treatment.

Gastric balloons are only temporary. A swallowable gastric balloon can stay in place for up to four months before it deflates. You will not need to return to the clinic to have the balloon removed as it will pass naturally through your digestive system.

A gastric balloon that is put in place via an endoscope can be left for six months. The removal is done as a day case at the Cadogan Clinic and there is no need for an overnight stay.

You should have a liquidised diet for 48 hours and then 12 hours of fasting before the removal of the gastric balloon.

The endoscope is inserted down the throat and into the stomach, the balloon is punctured and the deflated remains are removed with the endoscope. The removal procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes and can be done under light sedation or a local anaesthetic throat spray. No general anaesthetic is required.

Once the gastric balloon has settled it should not feel uncomfortable. However there can be a degree of discomfort after it has been placed in the stomach.

Most gastric balloon patients experience reflux because there is less room within the stomach. To avoid this, it is important that your meals are small and you take daily medication to suppress the stomach acid.

In the first 48 hours after having a gastric balloon installed, it is common to experience griping abdominal pains or cramps. This is because the balloon can irritate the muscle of the stomach wall. This usually settles over the course of a few days.

Nausea and vomiting is also a common after effect of having a gastric balloon fitted. This can affect up to 95 percent of people who have just had a gastric balloon installed. These gastric symptoms may last for two to three days after the procedure.

It is important that you make healthy changes to your diet to ensure you get the best results from your gastric balloon.

You should make sure that you eat regular meals. Ideally this should be three main meals and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. After eating your evening meal you should wait at least two hours before going to bed.

Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day, but limit what you drink at mealtimes as this can fill you up.

You should avoid caffeine and fizzy drinks and foods containing simple carbohydrates such as sweets, chocolates, ice cream, pastries and dried fruit. Avoid foods and unhealthy habits that cause an increase in stomach acid.

It is important that you follow the meal schedule provided as closely as possible.

Gastric balloons are not permanent. Depending on the type of balloon you have, they may last for four or six months. Some people may find that after their gastric balloon is removed they are able to stick to a healthy diet and continue their weight loss without the aid of a balloon.

After your gastric balloon is removed, it is possible to have a new one fitted.

If you were given a gastric balloon in order to lose enough weight in preparation for weight loss surgery, then you will go on to have a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve as planned. These weight loss surgeries are permanent.

In order to maintain your gastric balloon, it is important that you follow your diet plan. You should avoid eating hard nuts and seeds and anything else that may potentially damage the balloon. If the balloon deflates and slips into the lower stomach or bowel it could cause an obstruction. This may lead to severe abdominal pain and vomiting.

Although the balloon is robust enough to remain safely in situ for up to six months, it should not be left in for a longer period of time as there is a slight risk of the stomach acid damaging the balloon.

Our expert consultant here at the Cadogan Clinic will talk you through the gastric balloon pros and cons and help you to decide whether this is the best weight loss option for you. Book an appointment today to discuss gastric balloon in London.

What are the risks of a Gastric Balloon?

Although having a gastric balloon does not involve invasive surgery, there are still some risks attached to the procedure.

It is common to have a sore throat, heartburn, indigestion, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea or vomiting after having a gastric balloon. If you cannot tolerate the balloon, or struggle to keep fluids down and this doesn’t settle, then you may need to have the balloon removed prematurely. This happens to fewer than three in 100 patients.

There is also a risk of bad breath as food can coat the balloon.

Other risks include a chest infection due to aspiration, balloon rupture, bowel obstruction or perforation, bleeding and breathing or airway complications. These are rare complications.

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Aesthetic Awards

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Aesthetics Awards

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My Face My Body

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Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body

Best Clinic Winner

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body


Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body

Highly Commended

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


Aesthetics Awards

Highly Commended

Laurel Wreath for Awards

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