Gastric Balloon

WHAT IS INTRAGASTRIC BALLOON?

The balloon system consists of a soft, expandable balloon, a placement tube and a filling system. Intragastric balloon is too big to pass into the gut and leads to a relatively long-term feeling of fullness with smaller food portions. In general, intragastric balloon placement significantly reduces portion sizes and helps you to achieve your long-term weight loss goals.

HOW IS THE BALLOON PLACED INTO THE STOMACH?

The balloon is endoscopically inserted into the stomach. The procedure takes about 20 to 25 minutes. First, a diagnostic endoscopy is performed to ensure that you do not have any medical condition that may prevent the placement of the balloon (such as an ulcer). If no abnormality is observed, a soft, deflated balloon made of silicone elastomer based material is placed into the stomach. Once the balloon is placed into your stomach, it is filled with a blue liquid via a filling tube (catheter) attached to the balloon and the procedure is completed. The balloon starts floating freely within the stomach.

The procedure is performed under sedation to ensure patient comfort and the patient is awakened immediately after the procedure and is discharged from the hospital after a 2- hour observation period in the ward.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR INTRAGASTRIC BALLOON?

Intragastric balloon is an adjunctive method designed to help weight loss with diet. Overweight people with a body mass index higher than 25 kg/m², who have a prior history of failed attempts of losing weight with diet and exercises, who lost their motivation to diet or do not prefer surgical interventions are eligible for intragastric balloon placement. In addition, this procedure may be beneficial particularly for those who are considered to be too overweight to undergo major surgeries. The use of the balloon to lose weight before a major surgery may help reducing surgical risks associated with overweight.

HOW LONG THE BALLOON STAYS IN THE STOMACH?

Intragastric balloons are divided into two categories based on the targeted weight loss and the type of the balloon: balloons designed to stay 6 months and balloons designed to stay 12 months in the stomach. Gastric balloons for 6 months and gastric balloons for 12 months balloons differ from each other. Those for 12 months can be inflated with 3-month intervals to prevent the adaptation of the stomach to the balloon while those for 6 months are not adjustable.

If the balloon stays in the stomach longer than the planned time period, the risk for balloon rupture is increased. It is recommended to remove the balloon in due time. The procedure may be repeated in patients who have not lost enough weight.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF INTRAGASTRIC BALLOON?

The gastric balloon placement is a minimally invasive, non-surgical and outpatient procedure and those are also the main advantages of the procedure.

Long-term weight loss may occur once the patient adopts healthy eating habits. Long-term weight loss may improve already existing health conditions such as obesity- associated diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea and promotes self-esteem and self-respect.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH INTRAGASTRIC BALLOON?

Intragastric balloons are safely used worldwide in individuals with obesity or overweight. Complications are very rare and may be easily treated. Nausea, vomiting and cramps may occur during the first 2 or 3 days after the placement of the balloon. Certain medications are prescribed prior to hospital discharge to prevent such complications from occurring. Such symptoms disappear after the first 2 or 3 days.

The risk for a balloon rupture is not something like the term suggests. Actually the balloon does not rupture; however, the liquid inside the balloon may leak. The leak and deflation of the balloon may be easily detected by the blue color of the urine as the balloon is inflated with methylene blue. If you notice such color change, please contact your doctor immediately for the balloon to be checked endoscopically and removed if necessary.

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