Here is what you can expect to go through during the first days after the Spatz balloon implantation: the stomach receives the balloon and reacts to it – we call this phase 1.
Phase 1: For approximately the first 3-5 after your balloon implantation, you will experience symptoms and discomfort and it will be difficult to eat. Most patients commonly experience symptoms such as, nausea, vomiting, pain and heartburn/acid reflux. This phase is difficult on the one hand, but on the other hand, it is helpful because it gives a kickstart to your weight loss. The balloon basically does the work for you (it wont let you eat), and you accommodate to the balloon’s presence in your stomach. For a minority of patients this will last only 1-2 days or it may last 1 week or more.
Here is a more in-depth explanation of the symptoms that you may encounter in Phase 1:
- Weakness/Dehydration: Everyone experiences weakness/dehydration to some degree, because food/liquid intake is minimal. This is to be expected for the first 3-5 days, give or take, and it will pass. Please be in contact with your doctor/clinic.
- Nausea: About 90% of people experience nausea. This is to be expected for the first 3-5 days, give or take, and it will pass.
- Vomiting: About 20% of people experience vomiting, but it will pass. This needs to be reviewed with your doctor. It is best to keep track of the number of times you vomited per day. If the number is less than the day prior, then you are heading in the right direction. Over the ensuing days, as the number decreases, you will be able to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel. ‘In some cases, an IV may need to be placed to correct dehydration.
- Abdominal Pain/Spasms: About 20% of people experience abdominal pain or spasms, but it will pass. This needs to be reviewed with your doctor. In order to alleviate abdominal pain or spasms, your doctor may give you antispasmodic medications. They take the edge off and make the process more manageable. Please be in contact with clinic and doctor to let them know and they will help you get through this. It will eventually pass.
- Heartburn/Acid Reflux: This may last for 3-5 days. All patients take a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medication which lowers stomach acid and helps alleviate heartburn. The PPI can be taken once or twice a day. Another option is to take an antacid (ex: Maalox) for immediate relief (but it is not long-lasting). It is possible to take both, but you must consult with your doctor first.
After approximately one week, you will transition to phase 2. During Phase 2, your stomach will have gotten used to the balloon and the symptoms progressively subside. You will begin to eat and start to regain your strength. It is at this time that you will learn to work with the balloon. You don’t suffer from the balloon (like you did in Phase 1), rather, you learn to understand the signals that the balloon sends you. This will be discussed in more detail after the end of Phase 1.