The gastric balloon procedure (endoscopic intragastric balloon) leaves an inflated silicon balloon in the stomach for 6 months, making less room for food. As a result, patients:
- Feel full sooner while eating and therefore eat less
- Lose about 30% of their excess weight in 6 months
- Have health improvement for diabetes, joint/bone disease, and heart-related issues
This procedure is an option if you’re overweight or obese, and diet and exercise haven’t worked for you. Like other weight-loss procedures, an intragastric balloon requires commitment to a healthier lifestyle. You need to make permanent healthy changes to your diet and get regular exercise to help ensure the long-term success of the intragastric balloon procedure.
How Does the Intragastric Balloon Work?
No matter which gastric balloon is inserted, they work in the same way. Firstly, they occupy space within the stomach, so that there is less space for food. The stomach varies in size substantially from person to person according to your height, sex and genes. The average stomach is approximately 1.5L in volume, and so the average balloon (filled to 650 mL) reduces the volume of the stomach by less than 50%.
In fact, the main effect of the balloon is that its slows the passage of food and liquid through the stomach. This makes you feel fuller quicker and longer and substantially reduces the amount you need to eat to feel comfortably full.
How is The Gastric Balloon Procedure Performed?
The balloon is introduced into the stomach through the mouth without the need for surgery. The doctor inserts an endoscopic camera (gastroscope) into the stomach. If no abnormalities are observed, the balloon is placed through the mouth and down the oesophagus into the stomach. Once inside the stomach, it is then filled with a sterile saline solution, through a small filling tube attached to the balloon. Once filled, the doctor removes the tube by gently pulling on the external end, leaving the balloon inside the stomach.
Placement of the balloon takes approximately 20 minutes, after which patients are monitored by nursing staff in the recovery bay. As this is a “day-only” procedure, patients are generally discharged home within two hours after balloon insertion.
Who Is the Balloon Suitable For?
The intragastric balloon is designed to assist with weight loss in people who ideally have 10 to 30 kilograms of weight to lose. The minimum BMI is for individuals with a BMI of 27 and greater.
It is also used for people who are not suitable for other forms of weight loss surgery. The use of the Gastric Balloon may assist in reducing weight prior to surgery, therefore reducing the risks associated with surgical procedures on overweight patients.