Table of contents:
- When is indicated
- How the balloon placement surgery is performed
- Risks of balloon placement
- When not indicated
Gastric balloon, also known as intra-bariatric balloon, intragastric balloon or endoscopic treatment of obesity, is a technique that consists of placing a balloon inside the stomach to occupy some of the space and promote the feeling of fullness, so that the person does not feel the need to eat too much or too often, which favors weight loss.
To place the balloon, an endoscopy is usually done where the balloon is placed in the stomach and then filled with saline solution. This procedure is quite quick and is done with sedation, so it is not necessary to stay in the hospital. Despite being a simple procedure, it is only indicated for people who have a BMI greater than 35 kg/m2 or 30 kg/m2 who have other associated diseases, and it is recommended that the balloon be removed after 6 months, resulting in a loss of about 13% of body weight.
When is indicated
Gastric balloon is indicated in cases where the degree of obesity is very high, where the Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 35 kg/m2 In addition, it is indicated for people who have a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 and other associated diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea, for example. In addition, it can be indicated for people diagnosed with obesity and who do not wish to undergo bariatric surgery or who do not have an indication for surgery.
There is no age at which the balloon can be placed, however, in the case of children, it is advisable to wait for the end of the growth phase, since the degree of obesity can decrease over time growth.
How the balloon placement surgery is performed
The placement of the intragastric balloon takes, on average, 30 minutes and the person does not need to be hospitalized, they just need to rest two to three hours in the recovery room before being discharged and returning home.Before starting the procedure, the person is sedated to facilitate the placement of the balloon.
After sedation, flexible tubes are introduced through the mouth to the stomach that lead to a micro chamber at the tip that allow the interior of the stomach to be observed, and then the balloon is introduced through the mouth while it is still empty and then it is filled inside of the stomach with saline and a blue liquid, which serves to turn urine or stools blue or green in case the balloon ruptures.
To ensure weight loss and results, while using the balloon, it is very important to follow a diet guided by a nutritionist, with few calories and which should be adapted in the first month after the procedure. Learn more about diet after surgery.
Furthermore, it is also important to follow a regular program of physical exercise, which, along with the diet, should be maintained after removing the balloon, to prevent you from gaining weight again.
When and how to remove the balloon
The removal of the gastric balloon is usually performed 6 months after its placement and the procedure is similar to placement, with the liquid being aspirated and the balloon removed through endoscopy with sedation. The balloon must be removed as the balloon material is degraded with stomach acids.
After removal, it is possible to place another balloon 2 months later, however, it is often not necessary, as if the person adopts a he althy lifestyle, they can keep losing weight without using the balloon.
Risks of balloon placement
Placing an intragastric balloon to lose weight can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain during the first week, while the body adapts to the presence of the balloon. In rarer cases, the balloon can rupture and go to the intestine, which can cause its obstruction and, causing symptoms such as swollen belly, constipation and greenish urine. In these cases, you should immediately go to the hospital to have the balloon removed.
When not indicated
Gastric balloon placement is not recommended for people who have a hiatal hernia longer than 5 cm, active stomach or duodenal ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal neoplasia, oropharyngeal alterations, alterations in the clotting process, intestinal bleeding active, varicose veins, alcoholism or psychiatric illnesses.
In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant women or people who are taking anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory drugs or who have cardiovascular, pulmonary or cerebrovascular diseases.