Can I Swallow The Cost of a Gastric Balloon?
What Is A Gastric Balloon?
It does sound more like a gastric problem rather than a gastric solution, but a gastric balloon — or in medical terminology an intragastric balloon — is a temporary, non-surgical device used to encourage weight loss.
A soft silicon balloon is inserted in the stomach, partially filling it, so that you feel fuller more quickly, and eat less, thus, hopefully, losing weight. It works on the same principle as a nicotine skin-patch, allowing the wearer to gradually reduce his nicotine intake while reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. With the gastric balloon in your stomach, you can still eat, and eat some of your favourite foods, but you’re not going to over-indulge, as you’re going to feel bloated fairly quickly. Gradually, the narrative goes, you get used to eating smaller amounts of food, with all the advantages that that entails.
It basically helps kick-start the lifestyle changes necessary for those unable or not obese enough to undergo bariatric surgery. Though, as the balloon is only temporary — kept in the stomach for between six and twelve months — the wearer must be determined to follow a supervised gastric balloon diet, and to make those lifestyle changes, during and after, his or her period with the balloon.
Gastric Balloon Procedure
The procedure can take as little as fifteen minutes, and is performed under a light anaesthetic in the outpatient area of a clinic or hospital.
The deflated balloon is inserted through the mouth, down the oesophagus and into the stomach using a thin flexible tube with a camera and light at one end (an endoscope). Once in place, the balloon is filled with a saline solution through a catheter attached to the balloon. After the agreed period, the balloon is removed in the same way.
Patients can go home or back to work immediately after the procedure, though there are regular appointments with a dietician or weight loss surgeon in the ensuing months to ensure there are no problems with the balloon, such as rupture, and weight loss targets are met.
Will my Bank Account Lose Weight With This Procedure?
Various types of gastric balloon devices have been approved for use in many countries around the world, and the price of the procedure varies. What should be borne in mind is that the total cost covers three phases:
Pre-operative: professional fees, and perhaps also tests and laboratory work
The actual procedure: hospital or clinical fees, and personnel — bariatric surgeon, anaesthetist, surgical assistants.
Post-operative: regular dietician or surgeon appointments, any vitamins and supplements
The whole cost will of course vary from country to country and within countries. It tends to be highest in the US, with an estimated average cost of $9,700 (1), while it’s considerably cheaper, on average, in Europe and Turkey. The average price of the procedure across Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, France, Belgium and Turkey is around $4,800 (2).
Anyone interested in this quick, reversible, and surgery-free procedure should shop around, and not just on the internet. Your doctor or clinician should be able to point you in the right direction, or to the most reliable websites to check. So your bank balance can remain healthily obese, while you shed the pounds on the path to a healthier lifstyle.
Updated 13th December 2019, Viewed 9th March 2020
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