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Gastric Balloon Turkey: Is it actually worth it?

Medical tourism has grown dramatically in the last few years, especially in Turkey with its cheap flights, beautiful views, and the seemingly affordable prices of a gastric balloon treatment. Practices are known for everything from cosmetic surgery to bariatric surgery and other weight loss procedures.

In spite of this, there are a number of hidden risks that may not be immediately apparent to someone looking to go on a medical holiday to get a gastric balloon. Turkey is a very common place to go get a cheap gastric balloon, but the risks are exceptional. 

image of a thin woman to demonstrate gastric balloon turkey procedure

What is a gastric balloon procedure?

A gastric balloon is used as a weight loss tool. The balloon is placed in the stomach and then inflated using saline solution. Gastric balloons are used in place of a gastric sleeve surgery or gastric bypass as a non-surgical weight loss solution for those wanting to reduce their body mass index (BMI).

Gastric balloon procedures are not just used for rapid weight loss, they can also help treat the symptoms of a high BMI such as sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and even help manage type 2 diabetes.

There are several different types of gastric balloon, and they can be in place for different periods of time to meet the specific weight loss needs of each individual.

Gastric balloon procedures are typically recommended as a weight loss tool to help people to live a healthy lifestyle. There are several different types of gastric balloons which can be used to aid significant weight loss and help people make a lifestyle change that lasts long after the balloon deflates.

Why do people go to Turkey for a gastric balloon?

The popularity of Turkey is ever increasing, not just as a holiday destination but as a medical procedure hot spot. From plastic surgery to weight loss procedures, Turkey has become a destination renowned for cheap surgeries in the sun.

Offering package holidays that include weight loss surgeries and procedures has become commonplace. Everything from your flights and accommodation, procedures and excursions can be bundled up into one experience. This makes medical tourism easy and cheap and encourages many people to fly over each year, but is it worth it?

medical equipment that may be used in a gastric balloon surgery

Risks of getting a gastric balloon in turkey

The gastric balloon cost may be lower in Turkey, however, you may risk more than an empty wallet if the price is all that you consider.

Quality

In the UK, performing any type of medical or surgical procedure requires meeting a wide range of criteria and regulatory requirements. Though there are many surgeries in Turkey that are of a high quality, there is less of a solid standard to be found between surgeries to ensure patient safety.

It is also much easier to ensure that the reviews and ratings from private UK clinics are legitimate as they have often built up a reputation over years. In the UK you can also be assured that your medical practitioner has undertaken extensive training and works to remain up to date with new practices and technologies, providing you with safety assurance.

Many private hospitals will publish their performance metrics, patient satisfaction scores and the outcomes of other patients weight loss using gastric balloons. This enables you to properly research your clinic prior to your gastric balloon or other weight loss procedures.

Aftercare

One of the things that sets a gastric balloon apart from weight loss surgery is that your ability to lose excess weight also depends on maintaining a healthy diet and monitoring your food intake. How much weight you are able to lose depends on you, the balloon simply serves as a weight loss tool.

In the UK, you can be assured that your aftercare, following the placement of a gastric balloon, includes dietary advice to help maintain a balanced diet, weight loss monitoring, and checks that will ensure that you’re on the right track to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and continue to lose weight even after the removal of your gastric balloon.

During your recovery, a period of consuming a liquid diet will be necessary and dietitians will be on hand to make sure that you are able to maintain this in a way which is healthy and diverse. They will help you focus on nutrition and ensuring that you are giving your body the fuel that it needs, while recovering safely from your procedure.

Whereas, when travelling to have your procedure completed in Turkey, you may find that your aftercare regime is short and sweet. Once the gastric balloon has been placed and you return home to the UK, it is then on you to lose the weight by yourself. Without the support of dietitians and a comprehensive aftercare programme, losing weight once you return home can be extremely difficult. After all, the problems that led to the initial weight gain will still be there.

Travel

Traveling abroad to your gastric balloon clinic can pose its own risks as your body is more sensitive to infection and sitting in one place for too long can lead to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. Not to mention that travelling shortly after a weight loss procedure can be stressful and physically demanding, putting a strain on recovery times and increasing your risk during your recovery period.

Though the average gastric balloon cost might be cheaper, the cost can quickly increase once travel costs both to and from Turkey, potentially for follow up visits as well. This can potentially even remove the savings that would have been made in the lower surgery cost.

Language Barriers

If there is ever anything you want to understand properly, it’s medical advice. Understanding the gastric balloon risks, advice and recommendations from your doctors and consultants is crucial. You want to make sure that you’re able to take in their expertise so that you get the biggest benefit from your gastric balloon.

One of the key risks that international patients face is a language barrier. Not understanding or missing out on key information during your procedure can be not only ineffective but dangerous. It is imperative that you understand how a gastric balloon removal works and any results of medical tests you have before your appointment, not to mention what you should do if you have a deflated balloon sooner than you should.

Legalities and Standards

In the UK there are several standards that are compulsory for gastric balloon clinics to maintain. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and The Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) regulate the healthcare industry in the UK, including in private hospitals and clinics. This ensures that every facility adheres to high standards of care, safety and hygiene.

Most private hospitals also follow the guidelines and standards that are set by the NHS – this ensures that there is consistency in care quality and also adds another layer of safety and strict guidelines for clinics to follow. To ensure that private clinics maintain their high standards of care and safety they undergo regular inspection by regulatory bodies.

It is also worth noting that before getting a gastric balloon procedure that the necessary medical checks need to be performed – these tests are not always guaranteed abroad, while in the UK they are a necessity.

Unfortunately, there are more and more patients who had their gastric balloon inserted in Turkey requesting removal in the UK, unaware that the costs of having a balloon removed in the UK ultimately leads to a similar, if not more expensive, bill than having it inserted in the UK from the start.

Gastric balloon in the UK

Weight loss can be incredibly hard for many people, and gastric balloons can prove to be an invaluable tool to kickstart the weight loss journey and help shift that excess body weight.

We have a range of gastric balloons available, from the BiB 6 month gastric balloon, to the Orbera 365 12 month gastric balloon. We are here to support you on the path to controlling your weight, and our dietitians are on hand to help you make permanent changes.

Contact us to discover how a gastric balloon can help you on your journey to becoming a healthier you.

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