Also known as an intragastric balloon or the new Orbera Ballon, the gastric balloon is another type of incision free reversible weight loss surgery. While this surgery is now FDA approved in the United States, it is approved in Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia, and some parts of Europe.
What does the Ideal Candidate Look Like?
For those considering having a gastric balloon implanted for weight loss purposes, you may be an excellent candidate if you need to lose weight quickly for a special event such as a wedding or a high school or college reunion. To qualify, an individual needs to have a mass body index (BMI) of 27 or higher to get this procedure done; other types of weight loss procedures require a BMI of 40 or higher to qualify. This procedure is typically used for patients that do not qualify for other bariatric procedures because they are not a 35 BMI with the comorbidities.
Is the Gastric Balloon good for over 35 BMI?
For individuals that are significantly obese, a gastric balloon can help him or her kick off their massive weight loss journey. Typically for people who are severely obese the gastric balloon is used before other types of bariatric surgery if their weight is so high that a more invasive surgery will be deemed unsafe. Since individuals with a BMI of 60 or above and have health concerns related to their weight, bariatric surgery risks will significantly increase. Getting a gastric balloon will help a more obese individual to come down to a weight that is considered healthy before moving on to bariatric surgery. Getting the gastric balloon implanted before bariatric surgery can help diminish some of the many health concerns that correlate with obesity including diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea which will in turn make bariatric surgery safer.
What is Involved with the Gastric Balloon Procedure?
The concept of a gastric balloon seems simple enough. A soft, deflated, silicone gastric balloon is implanted into the stomach by way of the mouth and is then filled with air or liquid. By doing this the amount of food that can be held in the stomach is reduced and will help the patient feel fuller more quickly. The gastric balloon can be left in for approximately six months; once the balloon is removed the stomach will return to normal and in some cases the patient’s appetite may return as well.
How is the Gastric Orbera Balloon Surgery Preformed
Gastric balloon surgery is performed with the patient sedated or when the patient is given general anesthesia. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes from beginning to end and is considered an outpatient procedure; most patients are able to go home three to four hours after the balloon has been implanted and inflated. Depending on the surgeon, he or she will sometimes require the patient to stay overnight after the surgery to ensure that no severe complications arise.
During the procedure, your surgeon will do the following steps:
- Numb the throat for easy insertion of a deflated gastric balloon using anesthetic spray
- Insert the balloon using small endoscopic tools which includes a very thin probe with a small camera attached which will help your surgeon to see the area
- Your surgeon will attach a catheter or a small tube to the balloon.
- The balloon is then filled with either air or saline solution before the catheter is removed
The gastric balloon has a valve that seals itself and will float inside the stomach. When your stomach is full it prevents the gastric balloon to pass through to the bowels. The inflated balloon will give you this fuller feeling hence allowing you to eat less and still feel satisfied.
Gastric balloon surgery provides so many benefits for those people that need to lose weight. It is usually the first step to weight loss surgery and often times it precedes invasive bariatric surgery. Many people have reported feeling an increase in confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. Those that need this surgery before bariatric surgery have reported more ease with the surgery and recovery process.
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