The gastric balloon, or intragastric balloon, is a procedure used temporarily to assist in weight loss. The balloon acts by stimulating the distension of the stomach, which leads to a greater sensation of satiety. With this, the person is satisfied with a smaller amount of food.
Who is too overweight to undergo stomach reduction surgery can receive medical advice for balloon placement in order to lessen the risks of surgery. Or, people who are indicated to do the reduction of the stomach, but that present some risk factor for the surgery.
For those wondering if the gastric balloon is worth it: 75% of people who undergo the procedure can lose at least 10% of their body weight, which is the minimum goal of the procedure.
However, after a year of balloon withdrawal, 47% of those who managed to lose weight regain weight. That is, the gastric balloon helps to lose weight, but weight maintenance depends on changing habits, such as a balanced diet and the incorporation of physical activity.
Situations where the gastric balloon can be used:
- People with a body mass index( BMI) above 50 who need to lose weight before having bariatric surgery;
- For those who need to lose 10 to 25 pounds and can not undergo stomach reduction surgery;
- Individuals with BMI above 27 and a range of diseases associated with obesity.
Although these are the main prerequisites, an individual medical evaluation is necessary to discuss the particularities of each case.
People who have one or more of the following conditions should not use the gastric balloon:
- Lesion with haemorrhagic potential in upper gastrointestinal tract;
- Previous history of surgery in the gut or stomach;
- Inflammatory bowel disease;
- Regular use of anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories, drugs or alcohol;
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding or desire to become pregnant soon;
- Liver disease;
- Chronic renal failure.
How much does it cost to place the
gastric balloon? The price of the intragastric balloon may vary according to your location, medical team and the hospital you choose. For this reason, the values are so discrepant, and can vary from R $ 5,000 to R $ 10,000.
Gastric balloon is normally not authorized for patients with a BMI of less than 50.
How the gastric balloon works
The presence of the gastric balloon in the stomach reduces its volume by half, causing loss of appetite and increased satiety. This is due to two mechanisms:
- Mechanical: by reducing the capacity of the stomach, the gastric balloon makes it difficult to pass food through the digestive tract, making digestion slower.
- Neurological: When the gastric balloon touches the wall of the stomach, receptors are stimulated. These receptors are responsible for sending the brain the message that the person is already satiated and does not need to eat more.
Placing the balloon
The gastric balloon is inserted empty through endoscopy, without the need for surgery: it enters the mouth, passes through the esophagus and finally reaches the stomach. The procedure is done with the patient sedated.
In the stomach, the flask is inflated by a connector and filled with a saline solution containing methylene blue, which has the function of signaling in the urine a possible balloon rupture. The volume of the gastric balloon when filled may range from 400 ml to 700 ml.
The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes, and the patient is usually released on the same day.
The balloon should remain for a maximum of six months in the stomach, and its withdrawal is also done through endoscopy.
Early days with gastric balloon
It is relatively common for the patient to experience nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting in the first few days after the procedure. This happens because the stomach starts to produce more gastric juice in the attempt to expel the balloon.
In the first 21 days after receiving the flask, the patient should be fed a liquid exclusively diet. It is allowed to drink coconut water, tea, isotonic or a broth( practically only of water) of soup. The daily amount of calories can vary between 800 and 1200 calories as your doctor advises.
In these first weeks it is fundamental that the patient takes care of his hydration carefully, since he will be ingesting a small volume of liquids.
In the fourth week, the patient may be able to include more creamy foods in their diet, such as porridges and soups. Solid foods are only allowed after 30 days of gastric balloon placement, and even a small amount.
Gastric balloon risks
The balloon can cause internal injury, vomiting, ulcers, and infections.
It can also pierce, wither, or have a ruptured valve, which leads to the loss of liquid inside. One of the components of this liquid is methylene blue, which in these situations can be visualized in the urine. However, some people possess the dark toilet bowl, which can make the leak of the balloon go unnoticed.
When this happens, the balloon goes into the intestine, causing an obstruction. If the situation reaches this point, only surgery can solve it by removing the balloon.
Benefits of Gastric Balloon
When compared to stomach reduction surgery, the gastric balloon has the following advantages:
- Non invasive and does not require hospitalization;
- For those who are morbidly obese, the balloon can help lose weight before bariatric surgery, reducing its risks;
- Reduced risk of malnutrition;
- The balloon can be removed at any time through an endoscopic procedure;
- Can serve as a "step" for the patient who is in doubt about bariatric surgery;
- There is no restriction to the practice of physical activities;
- The price is usually lower.
Slimming with the
Gastric Balloon The high rate of weight gain after the withdrawal of the gastric balloon indicates that it is fundamental to change the lifestyle to achieve weight loss. Many who go through the procedure believe that the balloon alone will cause them to lose weight and that they can continue to feed themselves as before. The truth is that the balloon only works as a "push", an aid to weight loss, and does not lose weight if it is not combined with a balanced diet.
In order for the expected weight loss to occur, it is necessary that the person modifies their eating habits, at the risk of not being able to lose weight. For example, there are cases where the patient drinks strawberry ice cream, which in addition to being dangerous( sugar should be avoided in the first few weeks) cancels out any and all benefits of the gastric balloon.
For this reason, in addition to putting the gastric balloon, who wants to lose weight needs to be accompanied by a nutritionist and a psychologist in order to identify the flaws and make the necessary modifications in diet and behavior. Physical activity should also be part of the weight loss plan.
Consult your physician beforehand to evaluate your physical health and find the activity best suited to your profile.
Whoever puts the gastric balloon has most likely tried to lose weight in many other ways, but was unsuccessful. Behind this may be, in addition to organic problems, psychological issues. It's called "emotional hunger".
Before deciding whether the gastric balloon is worth it, be honest with yourself and ask if this may be the case with you. If the answer is yes, it is important that you seek proper professional follow-up because the gastric balloon helps to take away physical hunger, but not the psychological one.