Gastric Balloon - Is a Numbing Spray Better Than Sedation?

I will be having a gastric balloon inserted into my stomach in 1 months time. This will be followed by a gastric bypass in 6 months time.

I have the option of a throat numbing spray or what I assume is semi-sedation. I would be awake but apparently not able to feel anything.

Any advice on what is best? I'm not scared of the pain so much as the thought of not being able to breathe as the tube is put down my throat.


Doctor Answers 3

Hmmm, Very Interesting....

The good new is that this may not be an "Either/Or Question"!

Gastric balloons are most commonly placed endoscopically.  That means the surgeon or gastroenterologist will put a long tube (endoscope) down your throat that has a camera at the end (so they can see!).  They can then pass the balloon down into your stomach and inflate it under direct vision.  Before I do endoscopy, I generally give a spray numbing solution to the back of a patient's throat.  This just seems to make the procedure a bit more tolerable for the patient.  Most of the time, they will ALSO give you sedation prior to this procedure.  The medicines are a combination that not only help you relax, but also give you temporary amnesia so that you usually don't even remember the balloon being placed!  Most patients remember being in the holding area and then the next thing they remember is waking up in the recovery room.  You'll be awake the whole time they place the balloon, you just don't remember it.   

Getting a balloon placed really isn't that bad and for many patients it's a great way to get them to lose some weight before their definitive procedure.  Good Luck!

Corpus Christi Bariatric Surgeon

Gastric Balloon - spray vs sedation or both?

Typically most surgeons and gastroenterologists use both spray and intravenous sedation to make the patient feel comfortable and as close to pain free as possible. The spray is to reduce the gagging that may occur with scope insertion in the mouth and the IV sedation is to cause relaxation, pain control and amnesia. The gastric balloon is a good option for some weight loss in preparation for a more definitive surgical procedure.

Numbing spray AND Sedation for Stomach Balloon Placement

Congratulations on the steps you have decided to take to help bring your weight down and help improve your help.  If you've never had an endoscopy before I can understand how the thought of being sedated might be scary.  In my practice I typically will use a throat numbing spray to make the patient more comfortable even in the setting where they are being deeply sedated.   I recommend both.  

I wonder if perhaps your surgeon was not offering light sedation with throat numbing spray versus the option of General anesthesia where you would be completely asleep with a breathing tube placed for the duration of the procedure.  Since balloon placement can be completed in about 20 minutes, sedation is usually adequate.  The use of the numbing spray in that setting will help improve your ability to tolerate the sensation of ten endoscope being placed into your mouth and throat without activating the gagging reflex as intensely. 

Good luck!!

Daniel J. Rosen, MD
New York Bariatric Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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