Also known as stomach balloon or intra-gastric balloon, a gastric balloon is a silicone material specially designed to be placed in the stomach. Once inserted, it is filled with 400 to 700 cc of salt water and creates a very effective feeling of satiety. It is one of the most popular non-surgical weight loss methods of recent years.
This method is utilized in cases where diet and exercise do not produce results, when there is a risk for surgical intervention and when weight loss is required in a short time. Basically, it is one of the non-surgical stomach reduction methods. It is a widely preferred obesity treatment technique due to its easy application and low risks.
To whom can gastric balloon be applied?
Those with a body mass index between 30 and 40 are the first candidates. Alternative treatment methods may need to be considered for people with a BMI index below 30 or above 40. In addition, gastric balloon can be used in people who do not meet these criteria but need to lose weight in a short time due to health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, if the doctor deems appropriate.
How is the gastric balloon procedure performed?
A detailed medical evaluation of the patient is performed before the procedure. In addition to the general health condition, the patient is examined with the help of endoscopic imaging methods, especially whether he/she has a health problem along the digestive system. If diseases like reflux, gastritis or ulcer is detected, treatment is first applied to eliminate this problem.
During the gastric balloon procedure, sedation is applied to make the patient feel more comfortable. Since the procedure is performed with the endoscopy technique, the patient is not recommended to eat or drink anything for a certain period of time before the procedure.
The doctor inserts an endoscope and a catheter with an uninflated balloon at the end into the patient’s stomach. Once the balloon reaches the right place in the stomach, it is inflated with saline water. The inflated balloon fills approximately more than half of the stomach. Since everyone’s stomach structure and anatomy are not the same, it is decided during the procedure how much to inflate the balloon. Endoscopic gastric balloon application is completed in approximately half an hour to 1 hour.
Side effects and risks of gastric balloon
The stomach balloon, which represents a type of endoscopic application rather than surgery, is not considered a surgical intervention. Therefore, the risks of intragastric balloon surgery are very low and mild. Here are some of them:
- Vomiting and nausea, which usually only occur in the first 2-3 days
- Bleeding risks during balloon placement
- Possible reactions due to sedatives
- Abdominal cramps or pain during the first few days
- Bursting or leaking of the gastric balloon
Bursting or leaking of the balloon is one of the most feared risks, but they are very rare. In such a case, the balloon must be removed quickly. Otherwise, the balloon may move to the intestinal tract and require additional procedures.
Advantages of gastric balloon
- Rapid discharge as there is no surgical intervention
- Returning to the routine of life in a short time
- Rapid application
- Being a reversible procedure
- Minimal impact on organs and systems
- Losing weight quickly when doctor’s recommendations are followed
- Low cost compared to other operations
- Repeatability if the first procedure’s outcomes are not satisfactory
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