How Much Does A Gastric Balloon Cost?

A gastric balloon procedure in the UK can cost anything in the region of £3,900 to £6,000. However, these figures are only meant as a guide, as each case will be treated individually by the clinic, hospital or private practice administering the procedure. Finance arrangements are often available via the clinic or private practice you choose.

Procedure Description Price Range (GBP)
Gastric Balloon A soft silicone balloon which is surgically inserted into the stomach £3,900-£6,000
Gastric Band A band that divides the stomach and creates a smaller section £5,390-£9,000
Gastric Bypass A part of the stomach is sectioned and connected to the small intestine £10,000-£15,000
Gastric Sleeve A portion of the stomach is removed, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten £9,500-£15,000

Financing Gastric Balloon Surgery

Many private clinics will now offer patients who are considering undergoing gastric balloon surgery the option of taking out a 0% interest loan to help fund the procedure. Typically this will enable the patient to pay for the surgery over a pre-agreed term (usually around 10-12 months) without incurring interest on their loan.

It's well worth doing your research beforehand and making sure that you're comfortable with the surgeon performing the operation, the aftercare package provided as well as the overall price you're paying for the treatment. It's worth understanding that in most cases you 'get what you pay for' so what seems to be the cheapest treatment at first glance might not always provide you with the best deal over the course of your treatment.

Can I Get A Gastric Balloon On The NHS?

Yes, in some cases the NHS will fit a gastric balloon, although the criteria is quite specific. If you fall into one of the two following areas, you could be considered:

  • If you are clinically obese, with a BMI of 40 or over.
  • If you have a BMI of at least 35 and suffer from a health condition that could be improved through weight loss such as type II diabetes.

Why not check your BMI here and find out whether you are eligible for a bariatric procedure under the NHS. If you'd like to find out whether you might qualify for weight loss surgery under the NHS then get in touch with you local GP.

Getting Surgery Abroad

It is common for people to consider have a gastric balloon fitted abroad, as surgery conducted overseas can cost anywhere between 30-80% less than that carried out in the UK. It is just as important to do your due diligence when looking at clinics overseas, and to factor in costs beyond the surgery itself. For example, as the gastric balloon will have to be removed, there will be more than one trip involved and so airfare and accommodation should be taken into consideration on top of medical fees.


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Am I Eligible?

A gastric balloon is ideal for individuals looking to attain long-term weight loss, and can prove to be especially beneficial for patients who may be too overweight or unhealthy to undergo bariatric surgery.

Some surgeons may use the balloon to reduce weight prior to such a surgery, so as to reduce the risks of complication. You may be a suitable candidate for a gastric balloon if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 32 or higher. The balloon can also help individuals manage conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

If you think you may be a suitable candidate for a gastric balloon, make an appointment with your GP to be referred to a consultant. They will undertake a detailed medical assessment to determine if you are eligible for the procedure.


What Kind Of Results Can I Expect?

With the promise of potentially losing up to five stone in as little as six months, it isn't any wonder why patients are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for the gastric balloon.

Some critics may argue there is a possibility the patient will regain the weight as soon as the balloon is removed and the patient returns to their old diet and lifestyle. However, having a balloon fitted for six months should encourage the patient to break a lot of bad habits that contributed to them gaining weight in the first place. A gastric balloon is only ever as effective as the determination of the patient displays and the support the clinics provide.

Watch Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Weight Loss Surgery Ltd, describe how gastric balloon surgery works:

 

Video Transcript

"The balloon sits in the top of the stomach, the fundus, this is the part of the stomach that distends after a big meal and makes us feel full. The idea is the balloon sits there and we teach people how to manipulate the balloon back to that place so they feel full almost all the time, and then they are to eat textured food to fill the stomach full of good quality food so they feel full quicker, eat less and lose weight."

Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Weight Loss Surgery Ltd

END


How Is Gastric Balloon Surgery Performed?

A gastric balloon insertion can be carried out as an outpatient procedure, and normally takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. The gastric balloon is inserted into the stomach through the patient’s mouth and oesophagus, so there is no need for any incisions or invasive surgery. You will be provided with a throat spray to make it easier to swallow the balloon, which will be compact and deflated. Once inserted, the surgeon will insert an endoscopic camera to examine the stomach, and proceed with the correct placement of the balloon. As the balloon is made from a flexible soft silicone material, it is easy to position and inflate.

Once in the correct position, the balloon will be expanded by being filled with a saline (salt water) solution. Your surgeon will insert a small catheter and attach it to the balloon in order to insert the saline. Once the balloon is in place and fully inflated, it has a self-sealing valve to close, and so your surgeon will simply remove the catheter to complete the procedure.

What Are The Risks?

Although having a gastric balloon fitted is a minimally invasive procedure, it does still carry with it some risks. Some patients report a feeling similar to seasickness, in that they experience nausea and imbalance after the procedure. Gastro–oesophageal reflux (indigestion) can also occur as the stomach adapts to the presence of the balloon.

gastric balloon surgery

It is not uncommon for patients to report nausea, vomiting and general discomfort in the days immediately following the procedure, and others experience a feeling of “heaviness” in the stomach area, along with abdominal pain. Although it is not common, there is a risk that the balloon could rupture once inside. As the solution is saline, this poses no risk to the patient, and would simply pass through the bowl naturally in time.

In addition to the complications that are specifically associated with having a gastric balloon placement, patients should be mindful of other general risks that accompany any surgical procedure. These include pain and tenderness, infection, bleeding, and nausea/vomiting.


Longevity & Removal

The gastric balloon can remain in the stomach for up to six months, after which the stomach acid will erode the silicone shell.

This can cause the material to deflate, and so surgeons recommend removal and replacement if required after six months of having a balloon in place. Just as the balloon is inserted orally, it is removed the same way, through the mouth. The surgeon will insert a catheter, and use this to puncture the balloon. Once deflated, it will be carefully pulled through the oesophagus and removed via the mouth.

For as long as the balloon is present in a patient, the surgeon may prescribe oral medication that can reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. This is to reduce the chances of irritation or damage to the silicone exterior, prolonging the life of the balloon.

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