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Gastric Balloon

Gastric balloon is carried out at a decreasing frequency nowadays. It is easy to perform but is a temporary weight-loss method. Gastric balloon is an inflatable balloon-like prosthesis, made of silicone.

The purpose is to reduce the volume of the stomach and to reduce the amount of food taken by creating a volume when inflated inside the stomach. Therefore, people with a gastric balloon quickly reach the feeling of satiety.

Gastric balloon is not a soluble material and is not affected by the gastric acid. However maybe the most important disadvantage is that it must be removed after a certain period of time. This period is around 6 months for vast majority of gastric balloons.

There are currently two types of gastric balloon in use. It is classified as inflatable with air (Heliosphere® (Helioscopie)) and inflatable with fluid (Orbera – BioEnterics Intragastric Balloon (BIB)® (Allergan-Inamed)).

Gastric balloons can be inflated in an average of 400-600 cc volume and they vary from model to model. Another model that has been come into use in recent years is the adjustable gastric balloon. In other words, the balloon volume can be adjusted endoscopically depending on the condition by means of a balloon-mounted apparatus.

The advantage of this model is that the gastric balloon can be endoscopically inflated again in the case of a spontaneous reduction in the volume and cessation of weight gain, and can be endoscopically deflated to the desired volume if the current volume discomforts the individual too much.

How is gastric balloon carried out?

As in all other endoscopic procedures, the general preference is to perform this procedure under anaesthesia in the presence of an anaesthesiologist. In this way, the surgery can be performed very comfortably for both the patient and the treating physician.

Post anaesthesia, routine endoscopy is first performed to assess the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum. If there is a gastric lesion, such as gastric ulcer, preventing the operation from being carried out, the gastric balloon procedure is postponed after the required treatment and not performed.

If there is no lesion in the stomach, the balloon deflated and wrapped in a special package is advanced from the pharynx to the oesophagus. Although the deflated balloon is covered with plenty of lubricant gel during this procedure, there may be a little throat ache after the procedure.

Our experience shows that pastilles taken half an hour before and 2 hours after the procedure and local aesthetic substance sprayed on the throat before the procedure prevent this pain. Once the gastric balloon is placed, it is endoscopically inflated again with air or liquid depending on the model of the balloon and left free in the stomach.

If a liquid-inflatable model is used, a special blue dye is usually added in the balloon. In this way, if there is a small undesired leakage from the gastric balloon, the colour of the urine will change and allow us to receive an early warning.

The procedure usually takes 30-40 minutes and patient is generally discharged on the same day of the procedure. Some of patients underwent gastric balloon may have nausea that may require the use of intravenous anti-nausea. In such cases, it is better to spend the night of operation at the hospital.

Who can undergo the gastric balloon procedure and who should not;

Gastric balloon can be performed for those with a body mass index over 30 kg/m2 and who cannot lose weight with diet programs.

Patients with a body mass index of 35 kg/m2 and obesity-related comorbidities or with a body mass index over 40 kg/m2 can undergo this procedure if the patient is at high risk for bariatric surgery or does not want to undergo bariatric surgery.

In cases of active psychiatric disorder, substance abuse, an active lesion in the stomach, use of steroid, gastric balloon cannot be performed.