Gastric Balloon: Side effects
The Possible Dangers of Gastric Balloons for Weight Loss – 2022
Gastric Balloon: Side effects
If you want to lose weight, but consider a diet too difficult and long-term weight loss with sports alone too laborious, a gastric balloon could be an option for you.
The gastric balloon is a silicone balloon that is filled with air or liquid and placed in the stomach through the mouth. This makes the stomach smaller: The patient feels full more quickly and can eat less.
The gastric balloon is usually inserted under light sedation in an outpatient procedure by a gastroenterologist (doctor specializing in gastrointestinal diseases) or surgeon. After placement, it is adjusted until it fills the stomach completely. As a rule, this takes place under X-ray control.
If the doctor suspects that there may be unknown problems such as previous surgery in the abdominal cavity or chronic inflammatory bowel disease, he will first perform an endoscopy – that is, insert the scope into the stomach via the mouth to check whether there are any obstacles there. In addition, a blood test is carried out to verify that there are no abnormalities in liver values or coagulation factors (blood clotting). A lung examination may also be necessary if you have previously suffered from respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
The gastric balloon is sometimes called “a non-surgical stomach reduction”. It is a silicone balloon that lies in the stomach, like a large pill. As soon as it has been filled, it significantly reduces the volume of the stomach and thus limits the intake of food. A high-energy diet and exercise are not necessary to lose weight with this method.
The gastric balloon requires no operation and is therefore suitable for patients who do not wish to undergo surgery. The procedure can be performed in a short outpatient stay under local anesthesia. For insertion and removal of the balloon, an endoscopy is required, ie a gastroscopy with a camera on the end of a flexible tube that is inserted through the esophagus into the stomach or intestine.
The procedure for inserting a gastric balloon takes about 15 minutes. A thin catheter is guided through the mouth into the stomach under local anesthesia or general anesthesia (depending on patient preference). The gastric balloon is then inflated with air or saline solution using a pump until it reaches its final size. About 350 milliliters of fluid are needed for this purpose. Usually this happens without problems, but if complications occur, an experienced surgeon must be present during the procedure to be able to react quickly.
The gastric balloon is a foreign body that fills the stomach with liquid, making it less roomy. The person feels fuller sooner and eats less. The balloon also has a psychological effect: many people think of the balloon as a personal trainer. They feel motivated and supported in their weight loss efforts.
The gastric balloon is not an operation, but rather an endoscopic procedure. This means that it is inserted into the stomach via the mouth using an endoscope (a tube-like instrument). A deflated balloon is introduced into the stomach and then filled with 0.5 to 1 liter of saline solution (salt water). It remains there for four months, after which it is removed in a second procedure.
The gastric balloon cannot be used as a permanent solution: after four months it must be removed because of the risk of scarring of the intestinal wall due to its long-term presence.
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