Intragastric Balloon

Intragastric balloon is an alternative to bariatric surgery in overweight people, who do not have surgical indication. In some cases, intragastric balloon can also be used for enabling super morbid obese patients to lose weight in the stage of preparation for the surgery. Most patients can initially lose 10-30% of their total body weight, depending on their weight.

 

How is an intragastric balloon placed?

It is a non-surgical procedure. The procedure is performed with the help of an endoscope, after the patient completely fall asleep under anesthesia. First, the inner surface of the stomach is examined. When it is ascertained that there is no obstacle to the placement of the balloon, the balloon is placed with the help of an endoscope, and then is inflated with certain amount of air or liquid, depending on the characteristic of the balloon. There are several models of balloons serving the same purpose, which vary depending on the duration of their stay in the stomach, and whether the amount of fluid in them is adjustable. Your physician, who will perform the procedure, will inform you in detail about this. You should stop eating solid foods 12 hours prior to the procedure, and stop fluid intake 6 hours prior to it. It is extremely important to obey this rule because nausea may occur after the inflation of the balloon. The procedure takes about 20 minutes. You will be kept under observation for 1-2 hours after the procedure, and then you will be able to go home. Since this procedure will be performed under anesthesia, you will not be able to drive that day. Effective weight loss can be achieved with gastric balloon, but not as much as that achieved with surgical procedures.

Its Advantages

  1. It is a non-surgical procedure
  2.  It is placed easily and quickly.
  3.  When combined with diet and exercise, it can provide long term effective weight loss.
  4. With intragastric balloon, it is possible to lose up to 30% of excess weight.

Its Disadvantages

  1. Some patients may not be able to tolerate the balloon. Nausea, vomiting attacks, and stomach cramps may be a problem in the first days.
  2. Acid may lead to gastro-oesophageal reflux; and therefore, patients need to use antacid drugs for a long time.
  3.  It can remain in the stomach for one year at most. It should be removed after that period of time.
  4.  There is a risk of weight regain after the removal of the balloon.

How does the intragastric balloon act?

  •  It occupies a certain portion of your stomach’s inner volume so as to help you reach the feeling of satiety by eating less amount of food. You will not be able to eat the maximum amount of food that you can eat at one meal before the placement of the balloon.
  • Another benefit of intragastric balloon is that it slows down the passage of food through the stomach, helping you to feel satiety for longer.

How long can the balloon remain in my stomach?

Intragastric balloon is designed to remain in the stomach for a period of 6 months. Some balloons can remain for a period of up to 1 year. Afterwards, the balloon is deflated and then is removed with the help of an endoscope under anesthesia.

How much weight can I lose with the intragastric balloon?

It depends on you but you can lose 10-25 kg with the intragastric balloon. The amount of your weight loss depends on your initial weight as well as your ability to follow and maintain a new diet and exercise program. It is indispensable to maintain a certain diet and exercise program after the removal of the intragastric balloon.

Studies have shown that 15-20% of the total body weight on average can be given with the intragastric balloon.

After the placement of the balloon

You may feel a little bit uncomfortable in the first days after the placement of the balloon. Some patients may feel nausea after food intake. Vomiting attacks may occur from time to time. These complaints disappear after the first week. The feeling of hunger is suppressed in the first week. In the second week, the feeling of hunger comes back gradually but the feeling of satiety is reached after eating less amounts of foods. Between the 3rd and 6th weeks, your stomach becomes completely adapted to the balloon, and you become able to consume greater amounts of foods. In this process, you should strive to correct your dietary habits. You should avoid eating fast, and should stop eating once you feel satiety. If you suffer symptoms such as nausea and hiccups after eating, it indicates that you have eaten too much or fast. Lifestyle changes (exercise and appropriate dietary habits) are extremely important for you to keep losing weight in the following weeks.