Studies have shown that the intragastric balloon is a safe and effective procedure for temporary weight loss with low mortality and morbidity rates. Initially, in 1985, air-filled gastric balloons were introduced. However, due to complications and limited weight loss, this method was abandoned in subsequent years. Later studies led to the introduction of fluid-filled gastric balloons, notably including brands such as Orbera, Reshape, Spatz, Elipse, and Medsil.

What is a Stomach Balloon?

The gastric balloon is an endoscopic procedure for individuals unable to lose excess weight through diet and exercise, with a BMI of 30-35, those with a BMI over 35 who are not candidates for surgery, and super obese patients with a BMI over 50 to prepare for surgery.

The goal of the gastric balloon is to reduce portion sizes by occupying space in the stomach, creating a sense of fullness and satisfaction. This facilitates easier portion control. Studies have shown that the gastric balloon positively affects blood sugar and lipid levels. It’s important to remember that the gastric balloon is an aid in weight loss, but maintaining the ideal weight requires lifestyle changes, supported by diet and exercise programs post-procedure. On average, patients can lose 15-25 kilograms or 10-15% of their body weight, with the actual amount varying based on age, metabolic rate, and exercise frequency.

We insert the gastric balloon under short-acting anesthetics or general anesthesia in an endoscopy unit or operating room conditions, completing the procedure in 5-10 minutes. An endoscopy is performed prior to balloon placement to check for any conditions that may prevent its insertion. Using a catheter attached to the balloon, we place it in the stomach and inflate it with 500-700 cc of methylene blue-dyed saline solution based on the stomach’s size, then detach the balloon from the catheter to finish the procedure.

When is an Intragastric Balloon Not Recommended?

Intragastric balloons are an effective tool in obesity treatment, but they are not suitable for every patient. This article will discuss when intragastric balloons should not be used and explore alternative treatment options. Making the right decision for your health is crucial, so this guide will help you.

Intragastric balloons are not recommended for patients with a history of stomach surgery, those identified with tumors or a history of cancer during endoscopy, those with stage 3-4 esophagitis, those with a stomach hernia larger than 5 cm, psychiatric patients, substance and alcohol abusers, those with ulcers in the stomach and duodenum, during pregnancy, and for adjustments with the Spatz adjustable gastric balloon to increase or decrease volume for enhanced weight loss or to prevent removal if the patient cannot tolerate the balloon. The Spatz adjustable gastric balloon can stay in the stomach for 12 months and is then removed through an endoscopic procedure.

Types of Intragastric Balloons

Obesity is an increasingly significant global health issue, leading to severe health problems and negatively affecting life quality if untreated. Intragastric balloons are becoming a more popular innovative method in obesity treatment. This article will explore different types of intragastric balloons and how they work.

ReShape Duo

Doctors place the ReShape duo endoscopically in the stomach, designed to stay for six months. The dual balloon system prevents the balloon from passing into the intestines and causing intestinal blockage, even if one balloon ruptures.

Elipse

The Elipse is a new intragastric balloon introduced for use without the need for endoscopy or anesthesia for placement or removal. Doctors place a swallowable capsule into the stomach using a catheter, confirmed by radiological imaging, and then inflate the capsule with 550 cc of fluid to form the balloon. After four months, a self-releasing valve opens, allowing the balloon’s thin wall to deflate gradually and pass through the gastrointestinal tract. There have been cases reported in the literature where the balloon passed into the intestine before fully deflating, causing intestinal blockage.

Medsil

Doctors insert the Medsil balloon into the stomach endoscopically, inflating it with 500-700 cc of methylene blue-dyed saline solution based on the stomach’s size. The balloon remains in the stomach for six months and is removed through an endoscopic procedure, where the fluid inside the balloon is aspirated.

Orbera

The Orbera balloon is placed in the stomach through an endoscopic procedure, inflated with 400-700 cc of methylene blue-dyed saline solution depending on the stomach’s size. The balloon can stay in the stomach for 6-12 months, after which it is removed by aspirating the fluid through an endoscopic procedure.