The gastric or intragastric balloon is a device installed in the stomach to promote weight loss. Filled with saline or air, this balloon occupies part of the stomach to create a feeling of satiety. It thus makes it possible to modify the diet in order to reduce overweight. Still reserved for a minority a few years ago, the system is becoming more democratic and accessible. What is the usefulness of the gastric balloon in the context of successful weight loss? What can we really expect from this device?
The device is installed without surgery in the stomach to accustom the body to eat less. Before any installation of the gastric balloon, the doctor in charge of the operation examines the stomach with an endoscope. The consultation of a dietician and sometimes a sports coach is essential to the preparatory assessment. To this is added a blood test, a possible prior drug treatment and precautions to be taken before the installation.
One Polyurethane or silicone balloon is inserted endoscopically, under general anesthesia. Deflated on arrival, it is filled with saline through a catheter gently removed from the mouth, as soon as the balloon is full. The placement of some balloons does not require surgery or endoscopy or anesthesia. In this case, the patient swallows the balloon in capsule form connected to the catheter to deliver it into the stomach. After filling, the device floats freely in the stomach.
The balloon can also be inflated with air, usually a gaseous mixture of nitrogen hexafluoride. However, the air balloon is considered uncomfortable by many users. Regardless of the type of equipment inserted, the amount of air or serum varies depending on each patient. The balloon usually takes the size of a small orange. Thanks to an automatic closing system, the liquid or air remains perfectly protected against leakage. However, a dye present on the device can alert the patient to a leak in the seal.
The installation and removal of the ball are done in the same way and last less than 30 minutes. Although slight discomfort may be felt, The process is painless. The patient remains in the facility for a while, but can return the same day.
Who can place a gastric balloon?
The gastric balloon is suitable for all people who have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight. After unsuccessful diets, sports programs or medical weight loss programs, it is possible to change things with this equipment. Installing a gastric balloon also allows you to preparing the body for surgery in case of obesity to reduce potential risks.
Gastric balloon is indicated for people whose body mass index (BMI) is between 27 and 35. Beyond that, the patient must benefit from bariatric surgery to reduce obesity. The procedure is personalized according to the specificities and objectives of each patient. People with health problems related to their weight should speak to a specialist who will confirm their eligibility for the operation.
The advantages of the gastric balloon
The balloon occupies a third of the stomach, a volume that promotes the reduction of the amount of food ingested before reaching satiety. Its main advantage is the decrease in appetite and food intake, not by starving, but by betting on smaller proportions. To get results quickly, you just have to follow a few rules. These include:
- take the time to chew properly,
- take small bites of meals,
- wait at least 10 seconds between bites,
- drink water only before and after the meal,
- stop eating as soon as you feel full…
In addition, the technique of placing a balloon is minimally invasive. It does not involve scarring or stitches. Patients can qualify for it without fear of a change in their anatomy and the risks that come with surgery. For accelerate weight loss, it is possible to insert up to 3 balloons, on the doctor’s recommendation.
The device is placed temporarily and can be removed at the user’s request. The procedure is quick and patients quickly regain excellent shape after a quick recovery. By aHowever, balloon placement costs less than bariatric surgery and presents less risk than invasive procedures. However, it is not covered by health insurance.
Is the gastric balloon not recommended in some cases?
The gastric balloon is a Excellent option in the context of weight loss, but unfortunately it is not accessible to everyone. The contraindications are numerous and include, among others:
- severe liver diseases,
- psychiatric disorders,
- alcoholism or drug addiction,
- eating disorders,
- the practice of scuba diving…
The installation of the balloon is not recommended for minors and all people with gastric lesions. A history of gastric surgery, stomach ulcers or appendicitis is ruled out. The same is true for women who want to become pregnant or breastfeeding. Other conditions such as hemostasis disorders, hiatal hernia are limitations to this method. It is imperative to Consult a specialist to ensure the success of the operation.
How long does it take to lose weight with a gastric balloon?
The effectiveness of the gastric balloon is noticeable from the first 3 months during which patients generally lose 10 to 15% of their weight. However weight loss can be up to 30% when the patient receives adequate behavioural therapy.
Indeed, it is necessary to accompany the treatment with nutritional monitoring to guide the patient and provide personalized dietary advice. Following the advice of a dietician will also be helpful in helping the patient move at their own pace, with a kindness that they may not have with themselves. Thus, he knows not only what to eat, but also in what proportions to do it according to daily constraints. As an indication, meals may contain:
- 50 g starchy foods, ham or minced steak,
- 120 g of poultry cutlet or fish fillet,
- 125 g yoghurt, cheese, or vegetables,
- 150 g of fruit…
To get the most out of the gastric balloon, It is essential to eat healthy and balanced. It is necessary to provide the body with proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins and other essential nutrients without filling the stomach. For best results, alcohol, caffeinated beverages and soft drinks should also be replaced with water and fruit juices. This promotes weight loss without frustration while benefiting from the necessary energy on a daily basis.
Similarly, psychological follow-up should not be trivialized. It helps control thoughts and behaviors that can influence weight loss. Added to this is a follow-up by a gastroenterologist, crucial during the first days during which the feeling of discomfort related to the foreign body leads to constant nausea. Professionals offer several tips to manage this period as well as possible and keep your motivation during the use of the ball.
During the interviews, the patient explains how he experiences the change in diet, the difficulties he encounters as well as the improvements he notes. This makes it possible to identify the patient’s sensations to adjust the management and avoid possible complications. Consultations can be done in the office or online via the patient’s personal space. Coupled with a permanent implementation of good daily habits, Tracking appears as a real weight loss booster.
The long-term results of a gastric balloon
The installation of a gastric balloon is an opportunity to discover new recipes and cooking techniques compatible with the reduction of dietary needs. In the first week after the operation, it is recommended to consume liquid food. A tender diet is advised for the next two weeks. After a month, the user can already feed himself with all kinds of food.
Thus, it is possible to lose between 3 and 20 kg, but the balloon does not have a long-term effect on the stomach. Do not fixate on the number of kilos lost. The relevance of this provisionf is measured by the patient’s ability to maintain his or her weight stabilized over time. The long-term results then depend heavily on the patient’s lifestyle.
The weight decrease will continue if the patient adopts the same eating habits and behaviors that allowed the weight loss, even after the balloon is extracted. Continuing the follow-ups will facilitate the adoption of the healthy lifestyle conducive to the reduction of extra pounds.
Do not neglect regular physical activity that remains important to burn calories and boost the body in this process. Be careful though: any exercise or intense activity is not recommended during the first week. It is not a question of starting intensive gymnastics, but of finding a pleasant and effective activity. A sustainable exercise program can be implemented after the 4th week.
What happens to the gastric balloon once you lose weight?
After its time of use, the balloon must be removed and discarded. It is no longer effective, because the stomach has become accustomed to it. The removal of a polyurethane balloon is ideally done between 4 and 6 months after installation, depending on the device used. The silicone balloon lasts longer, up to 12 months. Beyond the limit, the gastric balloon breaks down under the action of hydrochloric acid from the stomach and is evacuated by natural means.
A residue-free diet and the use of medications that can stimulate stomach movements are prerequisites for removing the balloon. The operation is performed endoscopically using a kit containing a catheter, a puncture needle and forceps. The contents of the balloon are sucked in before extraction. The stomach then returns to its original shape before deposit.
The balloon pose should not be perceived as a miraculous technique to lose weight. Maintaining an ideal weight over time after a balloon is installed requires a personal commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
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