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Stomach Balloon (Intra Gastric Balloon)


What is Stomach Balloon (Intra Gastric Balloon)? Endoscopic Gastric Balloon for Weight Loss

What is a Gastric Balloon?

Gastric balloon is a temporary and non-surgical weight loss tool. The balloon, made of soft silicone, is placed in the stomach for a short time and provides a feeling of satiety after consuming small portions of food. In addition to reducing hunger, this method helps individuals effectively manage portion sizes. The gastric balloon offers a solution that does not require surgical intervention for those who want to achieve their weight loss goals. It also supports sustainable weight loss by adopting healthy eating habits. The gastric balloon plays an important role as a tool to support a successful weight loss journey for those who want to start lifestyle changes.

As an alternative to gastric reduction surgical methods, endoscopic gastric balloon application is a preferred option among patients who do not want surgery or are not suitable for surgery. In this method, a balloon is inserted into the stomach through the mouth via an endoscope. The balloon reduces the volume of the stomach, changes stomach movements and reduces appetite, allowing patients to control portions. The gastric balloon, which is a reversible method, can be easily removed if the patient is not satisfied. Today, there are gastric balloons that can stay for 6 months to 1 year.

How to Lose Weight with Stomach Balloon?

The gastric balloon creates a feeling of satiety by taking up space in the stomach and supports weight loss by reducing the amount of food intake. This allows individuals to naturally consume fewer calories. This method encourages habituation to small food portions and helps to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Following removal of the gastric balloon, the aim is for individuals to focus on maintaining their new lifestyle and dietary patterns. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits plays a critical role in both the insertion and post-removal phases.

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Endoscopic Gastric Balloon Procedure

The endoscopic gastric balloon procedure takes place under light sedation in an outpatient setting. The patient is evaluated by the Anaesthesia team before the procedure.  The procedure begins with endoscopy under sedation while the patient is asleep. During endoscopy, gastric hernia, reflux oesophagitis, ulcers and cancerous lesions are examined. If no problems are detected, a gastric balloon is inserted in the same session. With the help of an endoscope, a deflated gastric balloon is lowered through the mouth, down the oesophagus and inserted into the stomach. The balloon is gently inflated with saline containing methylene blue through a catheter.  When approximately 500 ml is reached, the catheter is withdrawn and the balloon is released into the stomach. The absence of blue dye around the balloon after both inflation and catheter withdrawal indicates that the balloon is placed in the stomach in the desired volume and intact. The gastric balloon placement process takes 5-10 minutes and then the patient wakes up. Some patients may have temporary pain, nausea and vomiting after the operation. For this reason, these symptoms are intervened with both gastroprotective and nausea-reducing drugs given to patients after the procedure. The patient's nausea returns to normal within a few days. However, normal nutrition is not started immediately; first, a liquid diet is applied for 1-2 days and normal nutrition is started at the end of the first week, starting with purees from the 3rd day. After the procedure, the patient's nutrition is organised under the control of the dietician in our team.

What Happens After Gastric Balloon Procedure?

After the gastric balloon application, the gastric balloon affects the digestive process of the stomach and causes an adaptation process. In this process, symptoms such as cramps, nausea and vomiting may occur. Although these symptoms vary from individual to individual, they usually last for 3 to 7 days and then disappear.

It should not be forgotten that the stomach balloon is the beginning of weight loss. It is important to maintain this process by making changes in your lifestyle and eating habits in the following period. It is necessary to follow the diet determined by the dietician and turn it into an eating style. A personalised diet plan will be offered by the specialist nutrition team, starting with a liquid diet, gradually moving on to pureed foods and a soft diet.

Discomfort such as nausea is normal immediately after the operation and the doctor may prescribe medication for this condition. Most patients feel completely full for the first two weeks, but some may experience nausea after eating. Significant weight loss can be observed during this period.

In weeks 3-6, appetite returns gradually, but a small amount of food may fill you up. Postprandial discomfort should be kept under control during this period. Complaints such as hiccups, gastric reflux and nausea may occur when eating fast and too much food.

In weeks 7-12, weight loss continues, but not as fast as at the beginning. In this process, it is important to integrate diet and exercise methods into lifestyle to support weight loss.

How Long Does the Gastric Balloon Stay in Your Stomach?

The gastric balloon stays in the stomach for approximately 6-12 months. During this time, it is important to initiate the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes to maintain long-term weight loss in co-operation with the healthcare team. This process focuses on adopting habits of eating less, focusing on weight loss goals and recognising signs of satiety. The first three months after gastric balloon placement is usually the period of most effective weight loss. At the end of the six-month period, the gastric balloon is removed by a simple endoscopic procedure.

Gastric Balloon Removal Procedure

Gastric balloon removal is an endoscopic procedure that does not require surgical intervention and is performed under the supervision of a doctor and anaesthesia. The endoscopy device is inserted into the stomach and the balloon is deflated, then the balloon is removed through the mouth using some endoscopic equipment. The removal of the balloon is done in a short procedure as it is inserted and patients can usually be discharged on the same day. This process is carried out taking into account the comfort and safety of the patients and is usually completed with a clinic visit of a few hours.

What are the Advantages of Gastric Balloon?

Although endoscopic gastric balloon application is an interventional procedure, it allows patients to stay in hospital for a short time. Since this method is not a surgical procedure, it is reversible and the balloon can be easily removed in case of possible complications. After removal of the gastric balloon within 6-8 months, the stomach returns to its former state. There is no change in the functioning of the digestive system organs and it is less costly compared to surgery.

The advantages of gastric balloon application are as follows:

1. It can be inserted in a short time.

2. The person can return to normal life without the need for hospitalisation.

3. The application is very easy and painless.

4. The patient can be removed at any time.

5. It can be applied more than once.

6. It is not an irreversible surgical method.

7. The risk is minimal.

What are the Disadvantages-Side Effects of Gastric Balloon?

Gastric balloon has some disadvantages compared to other treatment methods:

1. There may be a risk of reflux after application.

2. Nausea and vomiting may occur in the early stages.

3. In the early stages of the application, stomach cramps may occur.

4. Gastric balloon application is temporary and attention should be paid to lifestyle and eating habits to maintain the weight loss achieved after removal.

5. The amount of weight lost is less compared to other surgical methods.

6. In rare cases, it may cause gastric ulcer.

7. Some patients may not tolerate the balloon and may experience problems such as nausea and vomiting attacks.

8. The gastric balloon can remain in the stomach for a maximum of one year and must be removed at the end of this period.

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How much weight can be lost with a gastric balloon?

The amount of weight loss varies depending on personal factors. People with an intragastric balloon eat less by experiencing a constant feeling of satiety and their appetite decreases. This allows them to start losing weight by taking fewer calories. In the first 6 months, although it varies from person to person, 15-20 kg or more weight loss may occur. This application aims for individuals to lose 15-20% of their body weight over a period of 6-7 months.  However, it is important to maintain a regular diet and exercise regime to avoid weight regain after the balloon is removed. Avoiding high-calorie sugary foods and fats can help maintain weight control. In addition, short walks after meals can accelerate metabolism and contribute to a healthier weight loss process.

Who Can Gastric Balloon Be Applied?

According to the World Health Organisation, those with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 are considered obesity patients. Endoscopic gastric balloon is directly applied to obesity patients with a BMI above 35. Gastric balloon can also be applied to patients with a BMI between 30-35 who cannot lose weight effectively with diet. In addition, this treatment can be applied to patients with a body mass index above 30 if they have concomitant diseases. Gastric balloon treatment is recommended especially if there are concomitant diseases such as diabetes, sleep apnoea and high blood pressure. In patients with morbid obesity with a very high risk of surgery, a gastric balloon can be inserted as a bridge treatment. When the patient falls below a certain weight threshold, pulmonary and cardiac functions improve, the risk of anaesthesia decreases and the patient becomes ready for surgery. When the patient is ready for surgery, the balloon is removed and surgery is performed.

In short, the gastric balloon can be applied to overweight individuals who are overweight or have obesity problems, who are not successful with weight loss efforts, and who cause health problems. In addition, this method can also be applied to people who have not undergone stomach surgery and who do not have a condition that would prevent the insertion of a gastric balloon. Gastric balloon can also be used as a preparation method before various stomach surgeries.

Who Cannot Have Endoscopic Gastric Balloon?

Endoscopic gastric balloon may be inappropriate for people with certain health conditions. These conditions include:

- Alcohol and Drug Addicts: Endoscopic gastric balloon is not performed on individuals with alcohol and substance abuse.

- Pregnancy and Planned Pregnancy: A gastric balloon is not performed on people who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

- Serious Organ Diseases: Endoscopic gastric balloon is not applied to people with serious heart, kidney, liver and lung diseases.

- Those who have had stomach surgery in the past: Gastric balloon is not applied to individuals who have previously undergone oesophagus and stomach surgery.

- Those who use blood thinners: Endoscopic gastric balloon is not applied to people who have to use blood thinners continuously.

- Stomach Health Problems: Gastric balloon is not applied to people with gastric hernia, reflux and related oesophageal burns or gastric-duodenal ulcer.

- Long-Term Cortisone Users: Endoscopic gastric balloon is not applied to long-term cortisone users.

- Gastrointestinal and Bleeding Disorders: Gastric balloon is not applied to people with any inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract, hiatal hernia, liver failure, bleeding disorder or serious coagulation problems.

- Those who have undergone surgery in the past and those with psychiatric illness: People who have undergone bariatric or gastrointestinal surgery in the past, people with oesophageal motility disorder and people with a psychiatric illness are not treated with gastric balloon.

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