What is the gastric balloon (stomach balloon) operation?

Updated: Mar 30

The 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 struggle 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 gastric balloon method 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 gastric balloon method 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. The gastric balloon method 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.

Types of balloons in gastric balloon operation

In the 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 may be adjusted by the physician. Although a clear and important distinction between air balloon and liquid balloon has not been reported in the literature and clinical studies, the air balloon method is more preferred.

After gastric balloon operation

In the 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 intakes, including water, should be discontinued 12 hours before the balloon is removed.

Patient profile for gastric balloon

Although 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.

In addition to the medical convenience of the patient, the gastric balloon method turns the imbalance between food intake and physical activity in favor of the patient in individuals who have disabilities in doing physical activity (such as amputation, skeletal system diseases or disorders, lack of physical activity due to other accompanying diseases). For this reason, gastric balloon may be applied to every individual who has problems in balancing physical activity and nutrient exchange, does not have stomach and digestive system problems, and is suitable for endoscopy.

Advantages of gastric balloon

Although it is an endoscopic method, the fact that gastric balloon operation 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.

As a part of the stomach will be filled and in a sense blocked with the 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.

With the help of the balloon placed in the stomach of the patient, the gastric balloon method provides more comfortable and more effective weight loss for individuals who cannot maintain a regular eating and drinking order in their daily life and who have problems with physical activity. In addition, the gastric balloon method is an effective and advantageous method for individuals who have limited physical activity or have difficulty in physical activity in the fight against obesity. For individuals who have difficulty in controlling their food intake for weight control, the gastric balloon method provides a significant advantage to the patients until they acquire a healthy eating habit.

Risks for gastric balloon

Although the gastric balloon method allows patients to lose weight effectively in a short time, the results are not permanent. In addition, 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 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 prevented. 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 gastric balloon operation.

In the gastric balloon method, besides the risks arising from the lifestyle of the patient, there are also risks arising from the application, although it is rarer. The presence of a previously undiagnosed health problem of the patient, the allergy that may develop to the balloon after the procedure, the problems caused by physicians who are not experts in their job and who do not have enough experience are also defined as medical risks. However, medical risks of gastric balloon are those that are easier to control than the risks arising from the living standards of the patients in gastric balloon.

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