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A gastric balloon, also known as endoscopic intragastric balloon, is a procedure that involves inserting a soft expandable prosthetic balloon into the stomach to take up room and decrease the stomach’s ability to hold a certain quantity of food. The procedure results in making a person feel full faster and helps one to eat fewer servings, hence leading to weight loss.

The gastric balloon is intended to assist patients to lose weight when diet and exercise have failed, and surgery isn’t a desired option or a recommended one. With this weight-loss solution, a multidisciplinary team of medical experts that may include a gastroenterologist, general surgeon, diabetologist, psychologist and dietitian is needed to support the patient on his/her weight-loss journey.

Types of Gastric Balloons Available at Clemenceau

The balloons available at Clemenceau include:

  • Ellipse balloon: This is a capsule balloon that may be implanted under an X-ray in under 15 minutes without the need for anesthesia or an endoscopy. The best aspect of this is that it is automatically dispelled from the body after 4 months, so there is no need to physically remove it.
  • Endoscopic balloon: This includes balloons gastric balloons such as Orbera, Lax Ball, and Spartz. This type of balloon requires a brief hospital stay and it is normally implanted using an endoscope and thereafter removed after 6-12 months.

Ideal Candidate for Gastric Balloon

To be eligible for a gastric balloon procedure, patients must have a BMI of 30 to 40 and should not have undergone any form of weight loss surgery before. For those who need to lose about 30% of their body weight, the gastric balloon works best.

Patients who may need the gastric balloon procedure must adhere to a 12-month diet and exercise schedule in order to maintain a long-term weight loss.

The Procedure

Prior to the gastric balloon procedure, a diagnostic endoscopy is performed by the doctor before the surgery begins. This procedure involves inserting a tiny camera into the esophagus and stomach through the mouth. This is done to confirm that the anatomy is in a healthy condition, and that the surgery can be performed safely.

The soft silicone deflated balloon is then put orally through endoscopy or tablet ingestion. The balloon expands to about the size of a grapefruit after being inflated with saline. After two hours of recuperation, the majority of patients are discharged.

Precautions

The procedure should not be applied to patients who:

  • Have inflammatory bowel disease
  • Have delayed gastric emptying
  • Are expectant
  • Are taking blood thinning medication or supplements

Possible Risks of a Gastric Balloon

Post-placement side effects of gastric balloons may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach cramps

Rare side effects include:

  • Esophagitis
  • Gastric ulcer formation
  • Bowel obstruction whereby the balloon slips into the lower intestines in a situation where it deflates.

Benefits of Gastric Balloon

Some of the benefits of a gastric balloon procedure include:

  • The technique does not involve surgery
  • The balloon is easy to insert and remove (where needed)
  • Patients who have gastric balloons experience a decrease in their desire to overeat
  • The procedure is only temporary and can be reversed at any time
  • The stomach’s volume is reduced by less than half after the balloon is inflated
  • People who use gastric balloons lose three times as much weight as those who only diet and exercise
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