Gastric Balloon/Intragastric Balloon – Treatment, Benefits & Procedure

The endoscopic intragastric balloon treatment is an endoscopic procedure that is used in the management of obesity. Gastric balloons can help the patients reduce 29 per cent of their excess fat deposits. The procedure is non-invasive and is performed in a daycare setting.

What is an endoscopic intragastric balloon?
The endoscopic intragastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure in which a gastric balloon is inserted into the stomach. This is a silicone balloon and is non-reactive to the body tissue. This gastric balloon is left inside the stomach for a maximum of six months. Due to the presence of the balloon in the stomach, the patient feels full even after eating a small amount of food.

Benefits and Eligibility of Gastric Balloon

What are the benefits of Endoscopic intragastric balloons?
The benefits of endoscopic intragastric balloon therapy include the following:

  • Satiety feeling (stomach full)
  • Non-surgical procedure
  • Shorter recovery time
  • No hospital stay
  • Greater weight loss when compared to other diet plans
Who are eligible for the Endoscopic intragastric balloon?
Individuals with following characteristics are eligible for endoscopic intragastric balloon procedure:

  • BMI of the patient ranging from 30-70
  • Individuals not less than 18 years old
  • Individuals who are unable to undergo surgical procedure
  • Patients who are ready to undergo a temporary implant in the stomach
  • Patients who do not have a history of stomach or esophageal surgery
Before procedure
As the treatment does not involve any surgery, there is not much preparation required before the treatment. The doctor orders for various laboratory tests and exams before the endoscopic intragastric balloon procedure. The patient will be advised to stop taking certain medications and foods before the undergoing the procedure.
During the procedure
The patient is sedated during this procedure. The surgeon inserts a catheter (thin tube) loaded with an unfilled intragastric balloon. This tube is passed through the mouth down the throat into the stomach with an endoscopic camera attached to it. Gastric balloon is filled with saline with the help of a fluid supplied tube. After the balloon is filled the tube is removed, and the balloon is left inside the stomach, this creates fullness in the stomach. This duration of the procedure is about 20-30 minutes. The gastric balloon is placed in the patient’s stomach for at least six months based on the weight loss needed. The patient is discharged on the same day itself.
After procedure
The patient is instructed to avoid taking liquids for 6 hours after the procedure. The liquid diet must be followed post one week of the procedure. Soft foods can be initiated from the second week. Regular food can be taken from the 4th week after the procedure.
Following are some of the complications associated with the procedures:

  • Damage to the esophagus or stomach
  • Risk of infection within the balloon
  • Intestinal obstruction through balloon leaking and intestinal deflating

The benefits of endoscopic intragastric balloon are visible, only when the patient maintains a good lifestyle with a healthy diet and by performing regular exercise. The patient can gain back the weight if the recommended lifestyle changes are not followed.