astric ballooning, also known as intragastric ballooning, is a non-surgical procedure that has gained popularity as a weight-loss option for individuals struggling with obesity. It involves the placement of a special balloon used for weight loss in the stomach, which is used as a placeholder to occupy space and reduce the stomach’s capacity, leading to decreased food intake and the loss of weight.
Today, we will explore the concept of gastric ballooning to help individuals achieve weight loss, including its procedure, benefits, risks, and effectiveness as a weight loss method.
What Is A Gastric Ballooning Procedure?
The procedure for gastric ballooning involves the implantation of a deflated medical device that resembles a round balloon into the stomach using an endoscopic approach, which is a minimally invasive technique. The endoscope, a flexible hollow instrument with a light and a camera, is passed through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach to guide the placement of the balloon.
Once the balloon is correctly positioned in the stomach, it is infused with a solution of saline until it expands to occupy a significant amount of space. This filled balloon remains in the stomach for a predetermined period, usually up to six months, and is then removed through another similar endoscopic procedure.
What Is The Ideal Balloon To Use For Gastric Ballooning?
Initially, when gastric ballooning was first attempted, the procedure did not offer patients much success with weight loss. The combination of this ineffective weight loss and some safety issues prompted a conference called “Obesity and the Gastric Balloon: A Comprehensive Workshop.”
During this conference, 75 international experts from fields such as gastroenterology, nutrition, surgery, obesity specialists, and behavioral medicine discussed design, safety, and treatment options that should become the gold standard for gastric ballooning. The parameters of the ideal balloon as outlined during this meeting include:
- Should contain radiopaque markers that are clearly defined;
- It should be adjustable to hold between 400 and 500 mL of liquid;
- Should be spherical in shape and free of sharp ridges or edges to prevent ulcers and obstruction;
- Constructed with durable, high-quality materials that will not degrade;
- Should be suitable for low and high BMI levels.
Currently, the Orbera balloon is the only one on the market that fulfills all of the parameters outlined during this famous, comprehensive workshop.
What Benefits Does Gastric Ballooning Offer?
- 1. It is Non-surgical
- One of the main benefits of gastric ballooning is its minimally invasive nature compared to traditional weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, which necessitate permanent changes to the structure of the digestive system. Gastric ballooning does not involve any cutting or stapling of the stomach, and the balloon can be easily removed at any time. This makes it a reversible and flexible option for weight loss.
- 2. Helps Patients With Low Or High BMIs With Weight Loss
- Another benefit of gastric ballooning is that it can serve as a tool to jumpstart weight loss for individuals who fail to meet BMI requirements for traditional bariatric surgery (too low or too high) but wish to lose weight or experience improvements in an obesity-related condition such as diabetes type 2 or high blood pressure.
When a patient has a body mass index (BMI) that is too high for them to undergo a necessary surgery, gastric ballooning can be used to help them lose weight so they can safely undergo a surgical procedure.
- 3. Helps Alleviate Basic Weight Loss Woes
- Many patients agree that portion control and hunger pains are some of the hardest side effects they experience during attempted weight loss.
The reduced capacity of the stomach due to the presence of the balloon leads to decreased food intake, which encourages portion control and creates a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss. Also, the balloon occupies space in the stomach, which creates a feeling of fullness or satiety, helping individuals to eat smaller portions and make healthier food choices.
- 4. Effective Weight Loss
- Losing weight with gastric ballooning is done gradually, which is safer and provides more sustainable weight loss than losing a significant amount of weight in a very short timeframe.
Clinical trials for gastric ballooning showed that patients could lose anywhere from 8 to 15% of their total body weight. One trial for the Orbera balloon that contained 6,645 participants reported an average total body weight loss of 12% after just three months. This would equate to about 30 pounds for an individual whose starting weight was 250 pounds.
- 5. Temporary; No Permanent Changes
- During the gastric ballooning procedure, no permanent changes are made to the individual’s stomach or intestines. If the patient encounters any adverse side effects due to the presence of the balloon, it can be easily removed with a quick endoscopic procedure.
Gastric Ballooning Can Help Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts
Gastric ballooning is a useful tool that can help you lose weight but is not a long-term solution to obesity. The balloon is removed after six months, and the weight loss achieved during this period may vary depending on various factors, such as your diet, level of exercise, and individual metabolism.
To maintain the weight loss achieved with gastric ballooning, it is critical to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and behavior modifications.
The balloon serves as a temporary tool to facilitate weight loss but does not address the underlying causes of obesity, such as unhealthy eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, or psychological factors, which should be addressed for long-term success.
What Are The Downsides Of Gastric Ballooning?
Like any medical procedure, gastric ballooning also carries certain risks and limitations. The placement of the balloon may cause some discomfort or pain, and individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps during the initial period after the balloon is inserted. These symptoms are usually temporary and subside as the body adjusts to the presence of the balloon.
In some cases, however, the balloon may cause more serious complications, such as gastric ulcers, balloon deflation or migration, and bowel obstruction. Therefore, it is crucial to be diligent in keeping your follow-up appointments and following your doctor’s instructions during the entire period when the balloon is in place.
Who Should Consider Gastric Ballooning?
Gastric ballooning is often recommended for individuals who have not been successful with traditional weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise alone.
Patients who do not currently qualify for bariatric surgery or who would like to forgo surgery may benefit from a gastric balloon procedure as a bridge therapy. Patients in this situation should be given all the information they need to make an informed decision about whether gastric ballooning might be a good fit for their circumstances.
Where Can I Find A Doctor For Gastric Ballooning In Miami?
Gastric ballooning for weight loss is growing in popularity as a result of the procedures’ minimally invasive and temporary nature. Although the current gold standard for weight loss is bariatric surgery, it carries complications, risks, and substantial recovery times that most individuals do not wish to endure.
Combining lifestyle changes, medication, and minimally invasive treatments like gastric ballooning while under a doctor’s supervision can yield gradual but sustainable weight loss. Losing weight can eliminate or reduce many chronic health conditions, and a significant number of patients have seen their type 2 diabetes go into remission after gastric ballooning.
To learn more about the Orbera balloon and if it may be a good choice for you, contact Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Centers and set up an appointment. We are here to help you succeed in reaching your goals for weight loss and improving your overall health.