The gastric balloon is a type of bariatric surgery used to stimulate weight loss in obese and overweight patients. It is considered minimally invasive because no surgical incisions are required, and the procedure is outpatient.
Unlike other types of weight loss surgery, gastric ballooning is a reversible and temporary process. However, it is still highly effective for weight loss, and patients can maintain the results over time with proper medical monitoring.
Its use is usually indicated in patients with morbid obesity whose general health status does not allow them to undergo gastric surgery. Still, it is also an option for overweight people who are not eligible for other bariatric surgeries such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve.
What is a gastric balloon?
It is a procedure used in bariatric surgery that involves inserting a silicone balloon through the throat and into the stomach with the help of an endoscope, then expanding it by introducing a saline solution, thus filling a large part of the stomach.
It is a restrictive technique that reduces the feeling of hunger and increases the feeling of satiety. Thus, the amount of food ingested decreases, and the patient begins to lose weight effectively.
This procedure is not an actual surgery as no open or laparoscopic surgery is required. Therefore, it is an outpatient process that is performed under conscious sedation and does not require hospitalisation.
In addition to balloon implantation, patients should receive nutritional and psychological assistance to modify their eating habits and prolong the procedure’s results.
Why choose the gastric balloon?
Most weight-loss surgeries are complex, and complications can occur in all of them. These risks decrease using the gastric balloon as it is an endoscopic and reversible procedure.
The complications are minimal, after putting the balloon in the stomach, the patient may experience nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, but these symptoms disappear after two or three days.
Ulcers can rarely occur due to increased gastric juices. But this is very unusual and can be resolved with the appropriate medications.
How much weight can I lose with a gastric balloon?
The gastric balloon can remain in the stomach for 6 to 12 months because stomach acids deteriorate the material from which the balloon is made. Weight loss is estimated to be 10 to 15 kilos in 6 months.
Once this time passes, the balloon will be removed through another endoscopy. If the specialist deems it necessary, the worn ball can be removed, and a new one is introduced if the patient needs to lose more weight.