Considered an alternative for the treatment of obesity, the intra-gastric balloon is a silicone balloon placed in the stomach in which liquid is instilled (physiologic saline solution) or air. This procedure is performed through endoscopy, without any surgical procedure. The filling of the gastric space by the balloon reduces the capacity of food reservoir. With this, the amount of food the person needs to feel satiated will be smaller. It works as a helper in the clinical treatment. INDICATIONS FOR THE INTRA-GASTRIC BALLOON Even though it was used in the beginning for the treatment of morbid obesity, today the gastric balloon has been useful for patients with Degree I Obesity or for patients who benefit from a weight loss of up to 12 kilos (average weight loss with this method). The indications for the gastric balloon include:
- Overweight people, with obesity degree I or II who have already followed weight loss treatments: diets, physical activity and drugs, with no result.
- Overweight people, obesity degree I or II, planning aesthetic surgeries or other types of surgeries, who need to lose weight for a better surgical result.
- People with morbid obesity who need pre-operatory weight loss.
- The balloon is not recommended for patients who have had previous gastric surgeries, importante gastro-esophagus diseases, or who cannot be submitted to endoscopic surgeries.
METHODS OF INSERTION AND REMOVAL The procedures for insertion and removal of the gastric balloon are performed at the doctor’s office without cuts by professionals specialized in advanced endoscopy. With the development of new techniques, there was an increase of safety and comfort in the insertion and removal of the balloon. The patient is sedated and the procedure is reversible, without sequelae. The removal of the balloon must be done up to 6 months after the insertion. AFTER THE INSERTION This is the moment to change feeding habits and life style. It is importante to be prepared for these changes to garante the desired result. The monitoring of the diet is fundamental during this phase, and must be done by a doctor or nutritionist. Physical activity accelerates the weight loss and is part of the treatment, so program your life to practice sports with a specialized professional before the balloon is inserted. Some patients may need phychological support. In the case of insertion of the balloon with the objective of weight loss for plastic surgery, the aesthetic procedure may be programmed to after 3 months after the insertion of the balloon. In this case, the removal of the balloon happens normally, after 6 months of the insertion. A second balloon may be inserted after 2 months of the removal of the first one in selected cases. CONCLUSION The intragastric balloon is considered a safe and minimally invasive alternative for the obesity treatment. Currently the best results with the intragastric balloon are obtained in patients with obesity degree I or who need to lose weight for aesthetic surgeries or who have tried other treatments without success. The results expected from the intragastric balloon will dependon the following of healthy life style based on physical activity and adequate nutrition, that must be kept after its removal.