What Are The Advantages of Gastric Balloon?
A gastric balloon is a balloon, also known as Orbera, colored in blue dye and inserted into the stomach through an endoscopic procedure. Tubes that have a camera are inserted through the mouth all the way to the stomach, with the balloon mounted on the tubes. Upon reaching the stomach, the balloon is inflated to varying amounts of saline solution for a period of not more than 6 months. The inflated balloon inhibits the intake of large amounts of food by providing a feeling of fullness in the stomach. After the 6 months, the endoscopic tubes are inserted to remove the balloon, in the same way it was put. This article looks at the benefits of gastric balloon.
- It Does not Involve Any Incision
Compared to surgical procedures such as a gastric bypass where an operation is performed, a gastric balloon does not involve any incision. This makes it a good, if not a perfect choice of weight loss procedure. It is ideal for people who are struggling with obesity, or whom other weight loss or fitness programs have failed but do not want to go through the surgical procedure route. People with a BMI of 30 and have no gastro intestinal problems or have not undergone any gastro intestinal surgeries are the eligible candidates for this type of weight loss procedure. In some cases, it can be performed on people with a BMI as low as 27.
The procedure just involves the insertion of a gastric balloon into the stomach by use if endoscopic tubes that have a camera and then inflating it with varying amounts of saline solution, and leaving it in the stomach for a period of up to 6 months. After the 6 months are over, it is removed by use of the endoscopic tubes through the same process. However, before the process is performed on you, several things have to be considered such as your health history, to see if you have any serious condition that could be made worse by the gastric balloon.
- There is Significant Weight Loss
Upon placement and inflation with different amounts of saline solution, a feeling of fullness is produced. This makes the candidate feel like the stomach is full, hence no need to take so much food. The amount of food you take is drastically reduced and the result is reduction in weight, especially when it is coupled with other fitness programs. A study performed on 3000 patients showed about 15% weight loss through gastric balloon. In people who also engage in other weight loss measures, such as fitness and dieting, weight loss continues even after the removal of the gastric balloons after 6 months.
- It is Less Expensive
Compared to other weight loss procedures like bariatric surgeries, gastric balloon is relatively cheap since it does not involve so much of a process. The average gastric balloon costs between $7,500 and $8,500. It is performed by an endoscopist, with the help of an anesthetist to administer some mild amounts of anesthesia. The process is simple, usually taking 20-40 minutes and after which you can go home immediately. After the placement of the balloon, and upon its removal, there is no need for the doctor to make a follow up, and does not require you to be under medication or special diet. All this therefore makes it significantly affordable and more efficient.
- It is Temporary and can be Removed
A gastric balloon is temporary and can be removed at any time the candidate feels uncomfortable or has trouble in the normal body functions. This has several advantages over the procedures that involve surgeries, like gastric bypass. Unlike the bariatric procedure, where the incision marks are permanent, the gastric balloon is placed in the stomach for just a period of time, after which it is removed. There are no serious side effects known from this procedure, except the feeling of nausea or vomiting, which occurs in just a small fraction of the candidates, less than 1%. Several studies done show that just up to 4.8% of patients had the gastric balloon removed due to intolerance.
Gastric balloon is a weight loss procedure that is fast gaining popularity because of its low risks possibilities. Although there are no serious side effects associated with this type of weight loss procedure, it is important that a thorough research is done on your health history to ascertain the possible health conditions that would be accelerated by a gastric balloon.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.