What is intragastric balloon :
Intragastric balloon placement has been started in India at Laparo Obeso Centre since 2006 and LOC is known to be one of the pioneer balloon clinics in India. Since then,LOC has trained and certified many endoscopists and nutritionists.
Intragastric balloon is a non-invasive modality for weight loss. However, since the balloon needs to be removed after a period of time, it is accepted as a temporary method of weight loss.It is popular as a nonsurgical weight loss method for those who do not wish to undergo bariatric surgery or do not need surgery.
A silicon or similar balloon is filled with saline and occupies the space in the stomach.
The material of the balloon prevents it from being digested and hence stays in the stomach.Balloon can be swallowed or endoscopically placed in the stomach under sedation.
Who should undergo intragastric balloon for weight loss?
- Those who can’t lose weight after diet and exercise
- Ideal for those with an excess weight up to 10 to 15 kg
- Those with infertility needing weight loss
- Failed IVF and with obesity
- Cosmetic reasons
Balloon therapy is not ideal for patients with morbid obesity who require bariatric surgery.
How does gastric balloon work?
The balloon occupies the space in the stomach limiting the food intake. However, a person needs to be careful with the caloric intake to get the maximum benefit of weight loss. The balloon in the stomach gives a feeling of fullness and reduces hunger and cravings. However, the effect of balloon starts wearing off slowly and the person needs advice from a qualified bariatric nutritionist to learn to keep the food intake and calories to the lowest.
Is balloon a day care procedure?
Intragastric balloon placement is known to be a day care procedure and one can be discharged in about 3 to 4 hours.
Balloon is placed under short sedation and filled with saline under vision through an endoscope or gastroscope. could be some discomfort or pain for the first few days since the stomach would contract and attempt to digest the balloon.Some patients may need intravenous medications to suppress nausea and discomfort or pain after the balloon insertion. The discomfort usually disappears after about two to four days.
How much weight can be lost after the balloon?
It is generally said that a person can lose about 5 to 10 percent of weight. The results are variable based on the excess weight, BMI, metabolism and dietary compliance.
The weight loss is maximum in the initial 6 weeks and may slow down over time. Maintenance of weight loss is necessary with a proper follow up.
What is a swallowable balloon or a balloon pill?
These balloons are available as large capsules and can be swallowed by a person, with some difficulty. It is then confirmed under X ray vision that the balloon is inside the stomach. The balloon is attached to a tube through which saline can be instilled inside the balloon and the tube can be pulled. Some balloons rupture and pass out in about two to three months. The weight loss effect lasts for a very short time and needs to be maintained. This method is expensive and weight regain could be very rapid after the balloon passes out.
Can a gastric balloon be kept inside the stomach for a year?
There are balloons which can be left inside the stomach for one year, so that the weight loss benefits can be sustained for longer period. ‘Spatz’ balloons are adjustable balloons which can be left inside for a year. The word adjustable means that the same balloon can be further inflated with more saline so the effect of fullness and satiety can be augmented if the weight loss slows down or stops during the period of one year.
There are different types of balloons which can be kept up to 3,6 or 12 months. The effect of the balloon lasts longer if the balloon can be kept inside for a longer period.
Balloon removal procedure:
It is an outpatient procedure. Patient reaches the clinic fasting and under short sedation the saline/ fluid inside the balloon is sucked out with a special needle passed through the endoscope. Patient d
Can balloon rupture or leak?
The incidence of balloon leak is very low. However, the balloon is filled with saline tinged with a water-soluble dye known as methylene blue. If a balloon leaks, the methylene blue leaks in the stomach, absorbed and excreted through the urine. Urine turns bluish green and the person can immediately know it. In case of a leaked balloon, it can be safely removed or replaced with a new one. Balloons are made with silicon and hence can not rupture.
What are the contraindications for a balloon?
People with acidity or reflux disease are not recommended to have gastric balloon placed.
Ideally, an endoscopy is recommended to ensure whether it can suit a person.
Those on aspirin, blood thinners, pain killers are generally requested to avoid balloon placement.
What are the side effects of gastric balloon?
Side effects of balloon are usually mild and well tolerated.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort or pain are the most common side effects seen initially and can be controlled easily with medications. Acidity is sometimes a challenge especially after spicy food and should be treated with antacids. Vitamin and protein supplements are needed to keep the nutritional status healthy.