Gastric Balloon: When is indicated
The gastric balloon is indicated in cases where the degree of obesity is very high, in which the Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 35 kg/m2.
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The gastric balloon, also known as intra-bariatric balloon, intragastric balloon or endoscopic treatment of obesity, is a technique that consists of placing a balloon inside the stomach to occupy some of the space and promote the sensation of fullness, so that the person does not feel the need to eat too much or too often, which favors weight loss.
To place the balloon, an endoscopy is usually done where the balloon is placed in the stomach and then filled with saline. This procedure is quite quick and is done with sedation, so it is not necessary to stay in the hospital. Despite being a simple procedure, it is only indicated for people who have a BMI greater than 35 kg/m2 or 30 kg/m2 who have other associated diseases, in addition to being recommended that the balloon be removed after 6 months, resulting in loss of about 13% of body weight.
When is indicated
The gastric balloon is indicated in cases where the degree of obesity is very high, in which the Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 35 kg/m2. In addition, it is indicated for people who have a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 and other associated diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea, for example. In addition, it can be indicated for people diagnosed with obesity and who do not wish to undergo bariatric surgery or who do not have an indication for surgery.
There is no age at which the balloon can be placed, however, in the case of children, it is advisable to wait for the end of the growth phase, since the degree of obesity may decrease over time of growth.
How is the balloon placement surgery performed?
The placement of the intragastric balloon takes, on average, 30 minutes and the person does not need to be hospitalized, they only need to rest two to three hours in the recovery room before being discharged and returning home. Before starting the procedure, the person is sedated to facilitate placement of the balloon.
After sedation, flexible tubes are introduced through the mouth to the stomach that carry a micro chamber at the tip that allow the interior of the stomach to be observed, and then the balloon is introduced through the mouth while still empty and is then filled into the stomach with serum and a blue liquid, which serves to make urine or stool blue or greenish if the balloon ruptures.
To ensure weight loss and results, while using the balloon, it is very important to follow a diet guided by a nutritionist, with few calories and which should be adapted in the first month after the procedure.
In addition, it is also important to follow a regular program of physical exercise, which, along with the diet, should be maintained after removing the balloon, in order to avoid gaining weight again.
When and how to remove the balloon
Removal of the gastric balloon is usually performed 6 months after its placement and the procedure is similar to placement, with the fluid being aspirated and the balloon removed through endoscopy with sedation. The balloon must be removed as the material in the balloon is degraded with stomach acids.
After removal, it is possible to place another balloon 2 months later, however, it is often not necessary, as if the person adopts a healthy lifestyle, they can keep losing weight without using the balloon.
Risks of balloon placement
The placement of an intragastric balloon to lose weight can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain during the first week, while the body adapts to the presence of the balloon. In rarer cases, the balloon can rupture and go to the intestine, which can cause its obstruction and, causing symptoms such as swollen belly, constipation and greenish urine. In these cases, you should immediately go to the hospital to have the balloon removed.
When it is not indicated
Gastric balloon placement is not recommended for people who have a hiatal hernia greater than 5 cm, active stomach or duodenal ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal neoplasia, oropharyngeal changes, changes in the clotting process, active intestinal bleeding, varicose veins, alcoholism or psychiatric illnesses.
In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant women or people who are using anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory drugs or who have cardiovascular, pulmonary or cerebrovascular diseases.
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