What Is Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon, also known as intragastric balloon (IGB) or stomach balloon, is a non-surgical and minimally invasive weight loss procedure designed to help individuals lose weight and improve their overall health. This procedure involves placing a deflated balloon inside the stomach and then inflating it to occupy space, thereby reducing the amount of food a person can consume. Here’s a more detailed explanation of gastric balloon surgery:
Placement: Gastric balloon surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require general anesthesia. The deflated balloon is inserted into the stomach through the mouth using an endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera at the end). Once the balloon is in place, it is filled with a sterile saline solution, expanding to occupy a portion of the stomach.
Duration: The procedure usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and patients can typically return home on the same day.
How the Gastric Balloon Works?
The intragastric balloon works by creating a sense of fullness and reducing hunger, ultimately leading to decreased food intake and weight loss. Some key mechanisms include:
Reduced Stomach Capacity: The inflated balloon takes up space in the stomach, limiting the amount of food a person can comfortably consume during a meal.
Early Satiety: The presence of the balloon triggers a feeling of fullness sooner in the meal, leading to smaller portion sizes and less frequent snacking.
Slower Gastric Emptying: The balloon can slow down the emptying of the stomach, which may further extend the feeling of fullness and reduce the urge to eat.
Benefits of Gastric Balloon Surgery
Non-Surgical: It is a non-surgical and reversible weight loss option, making it a suitable choice for individuals who want to avoid the risks and recovery associated with surgery.
Short Recovery Time: Patients can usually resume normal activities within a few days after the procedure.
Effective Weight Loss: On average, individuals can lose between 10% to 15% of their excess body weight during the time the balloon is in place (typically six months).
Health Improvements: Weight loss achieved with the gastric balloon can lead to improvements in obesity-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.
The gastric balloon is not a permanent device. It is typically removed after about six months. Removal is also done endoscopically and involves deflating the balloon and then carefully pulling it out of the stomach.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Successful outcomes with the gastric balloon require significant dietary and lifestyle changes. Patients work closely with healthcare professionals and nutritionists to adopt healthy eating habits, increase physical activity, and develop sustainable long-term strategies for weight maintenance.
Candidates for Gastric Balloon
Gastric balloon surgery is generally recommended for individuals with a BMI between 30 and 40 who have not had success with traditional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise or who are not suitable candidates for more invasive bariatric surgeries.
Does Gastric Balloon Cause Weight Loss?
In summary, the gastric balloon is a minimally invasive, temporary weight loss solution that can help individuals achieve significant weight loss and improve their health. It offers an alternative to surgical options, making it a valuable tool for those looking to jumpstart their weight loss journey. However, it should be part of a comprehensive weight management plan that includes dietary and lifestyle changes to maintain long-term results.