The Intra-Gastric Balloon method, also known as the Stomach Balloon method, is one of the non-surgical methods that have been widely used in recent years in the fight against obesity. As the name suggests, the method aims to place a balloon in the stomach, thereby narrowing the stomach volume and minimizing food intake.
The Intra-Gastric Balloon procedure is endoscopic inserting a tube with a balloon at the end into the stomach through the throat and allowing the balloon to be opened in the stomach in a controlled manner. The procedure is not a surgical intervention and does not require general or local anesthesia, sedation is given by opening a vascular access to relieve the patient. Although the patient is conscious while under sedation, the patient does not feel any pain or ache. Intra-Gastric Balloon procedure lasts an average of 15-20 minutes and patients return to their daily lives after the procedure. Anesthesia is common in removing the balloon. Although some sensitive patients have difficulty in accepting the gastric balloon, patients return to normal after 72 hours at most.
In the Intra-Gastric Balloon method, there are two main types of balloons, air and liquid filled balloons. Air filled balloons can reach higher volumes than liquid filled balloons. Again, air filled balloons are more preferred than liquid filled balloons, since less weight is formed in the stomach compared to liquid filled balloons. Fewer complaints were reported in patients treated with an air filled balloon compared to a liquid filled balloon. In both types of balloons, the size of the stomach can be adjusted by the physician.
In the Intra-Gastric Balloon procedure, physical activity should be avoided for 24 hours after both balloon placement and removal. Although there is no restriction in practice for solid foods, in practice it is recommended to switch after a few days of liquid food. It is also recommended to consume less cold or hot drinks and to stay away from the first three days after the procedure. Solid food should be discontinued three days before the balloon is removed, and all food intake, including water, should be discontinued 12 hours before the balloon is removed.
Although it is an endoscopic method, the fact that Intra-Gastric Balloon application is not a surgical procedure has made it more preferred. It is more commonly applied in patients with high risk and reservations for surgery, and in people who need immediate weight loss due to other surgical procedures. It is an important method in acutely changing the negative course of obesity, especially in patients with Type-2 diabetes.
Although Intra-Gastric Balloon appeals to a wide range of patients, it is not recommended to be applied to certain patient groups. These can be listed as steroid or coagulant use, substance abuse, mental disorders, patients with a history of laparoscopy, patients with gastrointestinal problems and people with infectious bowel disease.
As a part of the stomach will be filled and in a sense blocked with the Intra-Gastric Balloon method, patients begin to lose weight rapidly. Thanks to this method, patients lose an average of 20-25 kilos in a short time. However, the continuation of the causes of obesity may cause the effects of the method to pass in a short time.
Although the Intra-Gastric Balloon method allows patients to lose weight effectively in a short time, the results are not permanent. In addition, Intra-Gastric Balloon alone is not enough to struggle obesity. Although the patient loses weight rapidly after the balloon is inserted, they can quickly regain their old weight after the balloon is removed. Therefore, after Intra-Gastric Balloon application, the patient’s physical activity level and daily food-calorie intake should be well balanced and lifestyle or habits that may cause obesity should be abandoned. It is important for the patients to acquire a life and nutritional health towards not gaining weight by highlighting the positive aspects of the changing body image after the Intra-Gastric Balloon.