What is a Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloon or intra gastric balloon is a medical procedure that involves placing a specialized balloon made of inert materials inside the stomach. The balloon is generally filled and inflated with saline. The presence of the balloon inside the stomach induces a feeling to eat less. The less amount of food consumed induces a weight loss and that is the concept behind the gastric balloon procedure.
Who are eligible for getting a Gastric Balloon procedure
This procedure can be done for people who are considered obese, i.e. who have a BMI of over 30 and their efforts in exercising and dieting have not yielded any results. This procedure is undertaken to lower the risk of potentially dangerous weight related problems or co-morbid conditions like Type2 diabetes, High blood pressure, Hyperlipidaemia, heart diseases, sleep apnoea, etc.
How is the Gastric balloon Procedure performed?
Gastric balloon is a minimally invasive procedure that involves placing an inflated balloon in the stomach to reduce weight. The patient is first sedated with mild sedatives and then an endoscopy is sent to the stomach through the oesophagus. As a general procedure, the surgeon first does a preliminary inspection of stomach. This is done to check the health of the inner stomach. Any signs for such conditions like peptic ulcer, any unusual growth, etc are looked for. The surgeon ensures that the stomach is healthy before performing the gastric balloon procedure. Through the endoscope the balloon is sent inside the stomach. The tip of the endoscopy holds this deflated balloon. Once the instrument is inside the stomach the balloon is inflated with about 600 to 800ml of saline solution. The balloon is inflated to a size that it is too big to enter into the small intestine or move out of the stomach. The inflated balloon roughly measures the size of a muskmelon. The entire procedure is painless and takes around 15-20 minutes time. After getting a gastric balloon, the patient can go home the same day.
It has comparatively lower risk than other weight loss procedures. After 6 months the Gastric balloon is deflated and is removed from the stomach using the same simple endoscopic procedures. While the gastric balloon is deflated in the stomach, the saline-filled inside the balloon passes through the digestive tract and does no harm as it is a simple saline solution.
How is weight loss achieved by Gastric balloon?
Once the balloon is inflated and is in its place, it takes up space in the stomach and thus patients eat less. It also slows gastric emptying and so patients don’t feel hungry often. Since the balloon is remains inflated inside the stomach, the stomach does not get to shrink. So a state of being full or satiety is always present.
Gastric balloon alone cannot achieve weight loss and so the patient has to continue on weight loss and diet and daily exercises to achieve the desired results. Studies show that the gastric balloon or intra gastric balloon procedure helps to reduce three times more weight along with regular exercise and proper dieting. In terms of data, it has been shown that gastric balloon can help reduce 20% to 30% of weight.
Will the person gain weight after the removal of Gastric balloon?
It all depends on how the person sustains the healthy diet pattern and the positively changed lifestyle. If after removing the gastric balloon, should the patient revert to the old style of eating more and not exercising, the probability of weight gain is definitely more.