Intragastric balloon or stomach balloon is one of the revolutionary ideas in the field of bariatrics and weight loss procedures. Intragastric balloon is basically a light and flexible saline-filled balloon, this balloon is made of silicon, and it works by limiting the amount of food obesity patient can consume by helping them feel full faster and easier.
The bariatric surgeon places an intragastric balloon into the stomach lumen through a simple medical procedure using endoscopy, which is a nonsurgical procedure, as intragastric balloon placement does not require surgery, as is the case with other procedures for obesity management.
There are several types of intragastric balloons used to treat obesity problem in patients with a BMI between 30 and 35 kilograms per square meter who complain of one or more of the obesity-associated comorbidities, such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated blood sugar, especially those who have failed to lose weight by diet and exercise.
What Is Intragastric Balloon?
Intragastric balloon is a soft silicon balloon filled with 400 to 700 milliliters of saline solution, this balloon is placed into the stomach using medical endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a light and camera on its tip that goes through the mouth down to the stomach.
Intragastric balloon usually stays inside the stomach cavity for 6 months, after this period, its volume begins to shrink gradually and it must be removed to avoid complications such as slipping into the duodenum and associated bowel obstruction, and removal of the stomach balloon is also performed using an endoscope.
How Does Intragastric Balloon Work?
As in the case of gastric banding, gastric balloon is a completely restrictive procedure that restricts the amount of food a patient can eat before feeling full, without causing any complications, such as poor absorption or malnutrition, as in some other bariatric procedures used to treat obesity.
What Are The Possible Adverse Effects Associated With Intragastric Balloon?
Some of the side effects that can occur after intragastric balloon placement are nausea, and sometimes vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or balloon intolerance. In some patients, the balloon can leak and this can lead to faster shrinkage of the balloon.
To address the balloon leaking problem, the balloon is often filled with a saline solution that contains a blue dye, when the urine changes to blue or sometimes to green, this shows that there is a balloon leak, and you need to see the doctor to remove it before it can slide into the small intestine.
The problem of balloon leak has been solved with the new generation of intragastric balloons, as a new kind of stomach balloons -called ReShape®- has emerged, which is a dual balloon system, meaning that if one of the two leaks, the other balloon remains intact to prevent any complications.
Weight Loss after Intragastric Balloon
In a study that was conducted on 326 obesity patients, intragastric balloon was placed in 50% of cases, and the others have had a medical endoscope without any intervention.
Weight loss in the patient group in which balloon was placed was 7% of body weight over a short period, compared to about 3% in the other group. Intragastric balloon group was assessed after two years of the intervention to find that they had lost 25% of their weight.
Other statistical studies reported 33% of excess weight loss in patients treated with intragastric balloon.
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