Does a Gastric balloon really help?
Particularly overweight people, for whom weight reduction through a change in diet and exercise is not or only partially possible, have to look for a suitable alternative. In addition to the well-known gastric band, the gastric balloon is another way to increase satiety quickly. What a gastric balloon is exactly and how it is applied, is explained in more detail in the following article.
What is a gastric balloon?
A gastric balloon ensures that the patient’s satiety begins earlier. This is achieved because the balloon already fills a part of the stomach and thus is no longer the entire volume for eating and drinking available. Of course, a healthy food supply is still possible. The gastric balloon is filled with either a special gas or a liquid.
How is a gastric balloon used?
There are basically two different types of gastric balloons:
- Swallowing balloon
- Gastric balloons that are used during a gastroscopy.
When swallowing balloon, the patient takes one to two balloons orally. These balloons are about three inches long and connected by a tube. The doctor later uses this tube to guide a non-toxic inert gas into the balloon so that it expands. Then the tube can be removed again and the gastric balloon can stay in the stomach for up to three months.
If the balloon is used during a gastroscopy, however, the so-called gastroscope is used. With this, the attending physician places the balloon over the esophagus in the stomach. The advantage of this is that the doctor can use the gastroscope to check the condition of the gastric mucosa. Once the balloon has been successfully placed, it is then filled with a saline solution supplemented with blue. This special saline solution is for safety. If the urine turns blue for a short time, the gastric balloon is leaking or even burst and it can be traded promptly.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes only 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, the patient has to spend another two to three hours monitoring in the clinic or practice. If severe symptoms of nausea occur, fluid delivery via the veins is required. In such a case, a hospital stay of a few days is needed.
For whom is a gastric balloon suitable?
The gastric balloon is not suitable for everyone. It is particularly suitable for severely overweight persons who cannot lose weight with diet and exercise alone. This is the case, for example, when the person feels severe pain during movement.
Such a balloon is not suitable if there is inflammation in the digestive tract, blood coagulation disorders, mental illness or problems with drugs. Even nursing and pregnant women are advised against such a measure.
Generally, it should be kept in mind that a gastric balloon is only a supportive measure. By such a balloon the patient does not lose weight. A healthy diet and (if possible) sports are also part of the weight loss program.