What Is An Intragastric Balloon?
An Intragastric Balloon is a small inflatable balloon, which can be used as a temporary aid to achieving weight loss in moderately obese patients.
This procedure is carried out by passing a deflated balloon directly into the stomach via the mouth and then inflating it with either air or saline. Once inflated, the balloon produces artificial bulk in the stomach. This bulk makes you feel full for longer and reduces a patient’s ability to consume large volumes of food or fluid at meal times.
As this procedure is only aimed at providing a temporary weight loss solution, the balloon is only left in place for a maximum of six months.
Who Will Benefit From An Intragastric Balloon?
- This procedure is usually used in patients with very high body mass indices (BMI greater than 60) in order to get body weight to a safer level before performing a gastric bypass operation
- It may be used as a stand alone procedure to provide a short-term solution for patients who are struggling to cope with their individual weight loss challenge.
How Is An Intragastric Balloon Procedure Carried Out?
The ultimate aim of the surgeon when inserting an Intragastric Balloon is to place the balloon into the stomach without the need for open surgery involving any incisions. This procedure is known as an endoscopic procedure and generally takes about 15-20 minutes to perform. Patients are well sedated, but not asleep whilst a deflated balloon is inserted into the stomach directly through the mouth and oesophagus. Once the balloon is in the correct position it is inflated with saline or air through a valve.
What Is The Recovery Like?
The first few days after the procedure are generally uncomfortable until the stomach adapts to the presence of the Balloon. It is very common for patients to experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea and stomach cramps during their initial recovery and until their body completely adjusts to the balloon.
Following a procedure, all patients are restricted to a liquid only diet for the first three days, i.e.: water, juice, milk, thin soup and sloppy jelly. Gradually a patient’s ability to tolerate most types of food will improve, although the volume of food they are able to consume in one intake will be substantially reduced.
Dependent on their level of nausea, most patients are discharged on the same day of their procedure. In the early days of recovery patients are strongly advised to stay gently mobile at home and to avoid any level of activity that would cause undue strain on the abdominal area.
Patients will be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they perform, but it is usual to take around a week off and to refrain from any strenuous exercise for at least 8 weeks following surgery.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Intragastric Balloons?
On rare occasions the Intragastric Balloon can deflate and/or migrate through the stomach and into the intestines. This can lead to an erosion or obstruction, which would require urgent corrective surgery.
Although Intragastric Balloon procedures are regularly performed without any complications, it is very important that all candidates are fully aware of both the benefits and risks of undertaking this type of specialist weight loss procedure
All endoscopic procedures, no matter how expertly or carefully they are performed, carry risks and the importance of a full evaluation and consultation to discuss your understanding and expectations in relation to these risks cannot be over emphasised.
How Do I Find Out If I Am A Suitable Candidate For An Intragastric Balloon Procedure?
If you wish to find out if you are a suitable candidate for a Gastric Balloon Procedure, our surgeons at the East Midlands Bariatric Unit will be happy to carry out a full evaluation of your individual needs during a consultation and provide you with a comprehensive explanation of any recommended treatment or surgery.
At the East Midlands Bariatric Unit we understand the importance of the weight loss surgery you are contemplating and throughout your consultation you will be encouraged to ask as many questions as you wish and to take your time in making a decision to proceed with any treatment or not.
How Do I Make A Consultation Appointment?
If you would like to find out if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.