What is Intragastric Balloon?
The intragastric balloon is a non-surgical intervention to aid weight loss. A soft, round, inflatable balloon made of medical grade silicone is inserted into the stomach through an orally inserted gastroscope (camera). After insertion into the stomach, the empty balloon is filled with sterile saline and can be kept in place for 6-12 months, depending on the type of balloon used.
Placement of the gastric balloon takes approximately 20 minutes and it is performed under sedation by a team of specialist gastroenterologists. It is considered a minimally invasive procedure as the balloon is inserted and removed in the day clinic and does not involve surgery. The gastric balloon is also completely reversible and is removed from the stomach 6-12 months later by gastroscopy as it is placed.
Gastric balloons are very effective in reducing appetite and improving feelings of fullness and appetite after a meal. It is a temporary tool to help you start your weight loss and initiate long-term diet and lifestyle change.
The intragastric balloon is more effective when combined with a comprehensive lifestyle program delivered by your doctor and a specialist dietitian, behavioral and exercise experts.
The expected amount of weight loss is specific to each balloon; however, in general, most gastric balloons will achieve an average of 12-20% total body weight loss; so a 100-kg person can expect to lose 12-20 kg.
Why is the Intragastric Balloon Done?
Inserting an intragastric balloon helps you lose weight. Weight loss reduces the risk of potentially serious weight-related health problems such as:
- Gastroesophagealreflux disease (GERD)
- Heart disease or stroke
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- 2 types of diabetes
Who is the Intragastric Balloon Suitable for?
Intragastric balloons are not the right choice for anyone who is overweight. It will help your doctor to see if this procedure is suitable for you, without going through a scan. In addition, their procedures are safe and the risk of serious side effects is low. You can have intragastric balloon application in the following cases:
- If the body mass index is between 30 and 40
- You are willing to commit to healthy lifestyle changes, have regular medical follow-up, and participate in behavioral therapy.
- If you have not had previous gastric or esophageal surgery
How Long Does the Intragastric Balloon Stay in the Stomach?
• The gastric balloon can stay in place for 6 months. It is not recommended to use it for a longer period of time, as the acidic contents of the stomach will weaken the balloon material over time, causing the balloon to deflate.
• If the surgeon recommends using the balloon for more than 6 months, the balloon should be replaced with a new one at the end of the 6-month period. While the balloon is in place, a medicine can be prescribed by the surgeon that can be used orally to help reduce stomach acid. This drug is intended to reduce irritation of the stomach and the likelihood of damage to the balloon.
• The gastric balloon is removed as it is inserted through the mouth. As with the placement of the balloon, a catheter is inserted from the mouth into the stomach during its removal. In this operation, which is performed through endoscopy, the balloon inside is punctured and deflated. After the balloon is extinguished, it is carefully grasped and removed.
Why Is the Intragastric Balloon Removed?
• It is vital that a person consult a doctor again after 6 months to remove the stomach balloon. Because, if the balloon stays in the stomach for more than 6 months, it can be damaged and torn by stomach acid. In such a situation, the balloon can pass into the intestines. This condition can cause intestinal blockages and require emergency surgery. In order to avoid such complications, it is very important that a person necessarily takes into account the 6-month period and consult a doctor in no time to remove it.
• During the 6 months that the balloon is in the stomach, the person should use acid-reducing drugs. Thus, the rupture and deflation of the balloon can be prevented. In addition, taking this medication also helps prevent stomach ulcers.
• Because the gastric balloon is inserted into the stomach through the mouth without surgery, there are no incisions and therefore no scars left. It is possible to go home within 24 hours after the procedure.
• After installing a gastric balloon, which is a fairly easy and painless method of treatment, a person can return to normal activities and work life. at the end of 6 months, people who have had a gastric balloon removed can lose close to a third of their weight compared to before surgery. Thus, they can easily gain healthier weight.