This article will shed light on gastric balloon procedure with all aspects. In brief, gastric balloon is a temporary weight loss method conducted via endoscopy for people who cannot lose weight with diet and who are not fit for undergoing surgery. Here are all the details on this novel weight loss technique.
Obesity and Morbid Obesity
Obesity refers to excessive fat accumulation within the body. According to WHO (World Health Organization), obesity is called as “abnormal, excessive accumulation of fat within the form and rate which will cause diseases within the body.” Whereas Morbid Obesity is more severe form of obesity as it constitutes a life-threatening condition for patient. The persons whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 40 are classified as morbidly obese.
What is Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloon is a silicone balloon inflated with saline water or air after placed into the stomach. It is a safe and effective method applied worldwide to deal with obesity. It is not classified as a surgical method. In some cases, this procedure can be performed before bariatric surgery when deemed necessary. The procedure requires a brief sedation as this method is a simple and short operation. Thanks to this simple procedure, there will be no life-threatening complications after the procedure. As a results of this procedure, there will be less space in stomach for food intake. It does not necessarily reduce patient’s appetite though but rather limits his ability to eat more food.
So this treatment is a convenient and effective method to treat obesity. This disease is prevalent in all countries and negatively impacts people’s lives. Obesity paves way for other serious illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, endocrine and other system complication, difficulty in doing even basic daily actions. All these problems contribute to worsening life standards.
Besides physiological effects, obesity has psychological consequences. Doing exercises regularly and following a healthy diet are essential requirements to lose weight. But for several reasons, people might fail to do these essential necessities. One major factor could be a person’s inability to suppress feeling of hunger. As a result of person’s inclination to follow a healthy diet, person loses the opportunity to maintain his ideal weight. Gastric balloon is a sound choice for such cases as it is highly effective and reliable method used by doctors worldwide.
Which Cases Are Treated with Gastric Balloon?
The WHO calls for people with BMI over 30 to receive a treatment. Whereas the people with BMI over 35 are ideal candidates for gastric balloon. Those with above 30 are deemed eligible for this treatment if they have other diseases linked to obesity. These concomitant diseases include but not limited to diabetes, apnea and vital sign.
Placement of Gastric Balloon
The patient, who will be inserted gastric balloon, should not eat as of 8 hours before the procedure. There are no other preparations required for this procedure. After the patient is admitted to operation room, an intravenous line will be opened to administer anesthesia. Depending on doctor’s decision, patient will be in semi-asleep or complete asleep position. The patient will be put to sleep for 15 minutes in complete sedation. Regardless of these anesthesia options, the procedure will be totally painless. The gastric balloon will be placed via an illuminated camera called as endoscope. The camera will stream the images of internal stomach, which will assist the doctor to view the inside of stomach in detail. In this way, doctor can act accurately. As the 1 cm thick camera moves through the esophagus, doctor will have the opportunity to examine esophagus and duodenum besides stomach. To put it differently, doctor will be able to focus on all details of internal stomach structure. Doctor will check whether patient has ulcers, gastritis, reflux or other lesions which will not allow inflation of gastric balloon inside stomach. If patient does not have signs of these problems, the decision to inflate the gastric balloon will be taken.
After doctor decides to go ahead with inflation, the balloon is lowered to person’s stomach slowly. A serum with a dye in methylene blue color is utilized to inflate the balloon. The balloon is filled with colored dye in order to detect a leak that might come from the balloon. Patient can observe this colored substance in toilet if there is a leak in balloon. In this way, complications will be addressed immediately.
The gastric balloon which is filled with air or 450-500 cc blue serum is inserted in stomach. It will take 15 minutes maximum to complete all the procedure. Patient is then awakened from sedation. He or she will be able to discharged from hospital after 1-2 hours of rest is ward. Patient can return to normal life within same day as there will be no complications.
Post Procedure Care
If patient have complaints such as cramps, nausea or vomiting after gastric balloon procedure, he or she should not panic as they are normal symptoms that can be observed after the procedure. They are deemed natural responses as long as they are brief and not severe. Since a substance that is not recognized by the body enters the stomach, such symptoms are viewed natural. In order to address these minor complications, doctor can prescribe painkillers or gastric protective. These side effects will completely go away 3-4 days after the procedure in general. However, if these complaints remain for longer time and continue at the same severity, the gastric balloon can be removed from the patient. Such cases are rare and constitute uncommon exceptions.
Effectiveness of Gastric Balloon
Gastric Balloon procedure is a promising technique to achieve satisfying results in a short time span. The post procedure care should include adjustments in diet and proper exercises. So patient need to change his lifestyle to support the medical procedure. In addition, patient should visit doctor regularly for follow up.
How Does Gastric Balloon Work?
Gastric balloon is a medical application that works by suppressing person’s appetite. The filled balloon in stomach leaves a limited space for food intake without causing any side effects to the body. When a person eats while the gastric balloon is inside stomach, he or she won’t desire to eat food excessively. This method is effective as other bariatric procedures to treat obesity. In the end, the person is weakened thanks to lesser amount of food intake.
This does doesn’t mean that there is no need to support gastric balloon with other measures. Gastric balloon is actually a complementary treatment that should be combined with lifestyle changes and other efforts. If for example, person continues to eat excessively despite being full he or she will not maintain a healthy weight. Another example is person’s lack of interest in doing physical exercises. An immobile person with insatiable appetite will not achieve desired weight.
Volume of Weight Loss with Gastric Balloon
The extent of weight loss after gastric balloon insertion depends mainly on personal factors. The previous medical condition, past diseases (such as insulin resistance, diabetes, polycystic ovary) and previous weight determines the volume of weight loss to be achieved with this procedure. But a statistical data on the volume of weight loss with gastric balloon surgery can be specified as 10-25 kg. As a percentage of overall body weight, this weight loss corresponds to 15-20% loss of body weight.
Eligibility Criteria for Gastric Balloon
Before mentioning about the eligibility criteria for gastric balloon, it should be kept in mind that this procedure is not an aesthetic procedure. In today’s trending aesthetic and beauty understandings have led people to complain from small flaws in body. For instance, some people sacrifice their health to get skinny by abstaining from proper nutrition. So, gastric balloon procedure can be performed after evaluating a candidate person’s physiological features in objective manner. The people who are not considered as suitable for gastric balloon are as follows:
· People suffering from stomach inflammation
· Those who have BMI lower than 30
· People who have complaints from esophageal problems
· People with stomach complaints
· Patients who had stomach surgery before
· People with large gastric hernia
· Those who have addiction to alcohol
· Pregnant and lactating mothers
· Those with blood coagulation problems
· People suffering from psychological disorders
· Those who seek to have the procedure over aesthetic concerns
Removal of Gastric Balloon
Gastric balloon is designed to remain in stomach for a definite period. It may remain in stomach for 6 months to 1 year. The decision to remove gastric balloon can be made according to the progress of patient’s weight loss and his or her health status. The balloon should be removed as soon as the desired level of weight loss is achieved. Otherwise, the gastric balloon might burst within the stomach. The removal of gastric balloon takes around 15 minutes. The removal of the balloon is detailed below:
· An endoscopic instrument, which was used to insert the balloon into the stomach, is sent back to the stomach for taking the balloon out of stomach.
· The liquid in the balloon inside the stomach is emptied
· With the help of endoscopic pipes, the deflated and emptied balloon is pulled back upwards from the stomach
Is There Any Risks with Gastric Balloon?
It can be safely call the gastric balloon as free from significant risks. There could be only minor risks as the procedure is still an external intervention designed to decrease the weight of body in short time. Those minor side effects can be listed as follows:
· Reflux, which is a medical condition arising from abnormalities in stomach acid, can be triggered as food will remain in the stomach for longer time. Certain medication should be used to prevent development of reflux.
· Due to pressure of balloon in the stomach, gastric ulcer can be developed. This unwelcome risky situation can be prevented with medication and correct diet.
· Gastric bleeding might occur due to the pressure of the balloon. This medical condition can be accompanied by ulceration. This medical condition can be treated by removing the balloon and proper medication.
· Deflating of the gastric balloon is another potential risk. The blue liquid in the balloon can be noticed with urine if the balloon is leaking or burst.
· Changing of balloon’s position or migration into the intestine is another potential risk. In such rare occasions, the balloon will be removed through stool. If there is also an obstruction in intestines, that it will be removed with surgical procedures.
In statistical terms, the risk of developing endoscopic sides effects is lesser than 1% for minor problems and 0.1% for mild complications.
Gastric Balloon Cost in Turkey
The cost of gastric balloon procedure in Turkey depends on the type of balloon to be inserted. Other determinants of price are the experience of the doctor, the sophistication of the technology, quality of materials and service. If all-inclusive package will be requested from clinic, the cost will be adjusted accordingly.
Patients can receive a thorough package for their gastric balloon procedure in Turkish clinics. This package includes flight tickets, transfers, accommodation, treatment and medication after treatment. The overall costs, however, will be way lower than treatments in other countries. Turkey has low cost of living but quality of services such as accommodation, treatment and aftercare services are comparable to those in advanced countries.