Gastric Balloon

A gastric balloon is a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical tool used in the treatment of obesity. The gastric balloon system is made up of a soft, expandable balloon, a placement tube, and a filling system. The deflated balloon is inserted orally and moved into the stomach, where it is then filled with saline. Once filled, it floats freely in the stomach, limiting the amount of food needed for a person to feel full. Along with a supervised diet, the gastric balloon can help an obese patient lose weight. The balloon is temporary and usually removed after six months to a year.

The gastric balloon may be a suitable option for those with body mass index (BMI) of 27 to 35 or more, but it is particularly useful for patients who are considered too overweight to undergo vital surgery. (For a body mass index much higher than 35, bariatric surgery is more effective, but weight loss is necessary to reduce risks of more invasive surgery that requires the use of general anesthesia.) Losing weight is also effective in managing medical conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Your doctor will make a decision which procedure is most appropriate for you, depending on your weight, your general health, any other medical conditions you have, and your ultimate goal for your health/weight.
The procedure is effective in helping a patient achieve weight loss, but requires the patient to choose appropriate foods and exercise regularly. Without these, weight loss is still likely to occur, but probably not in the expected amount. Long-term weight loss should improve obesity-related health problems like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc.
What if the procedure is not done?
Without the procedure, you will not lose weight and existing health conditions will persist and worsen. You may also not be able to undergo important surgery if you cannot reach a healthy weight.
The gastric balloon is usually considered when lifestyle changes have not been effective in achieving weight loss, but the first step in trying to lose weight is always to diet and exercise. There are also other surgical options, including sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric banding. These require general anesthesia, which has many risks and complications when the patient is obese.

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