Did you know that nearly 40% of Americans are obese?
As you might be aware, obesity is associated with many health issues including diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure.
What’s the best way to treat obesity? By eating a calorie-reduced diet; regular exercise is also important.
In some cases, however, that might not be enough. Fortunately, there are other treatment options out there for those who’d like to reduce weight.
For instance, individuals can get a surgery called a gastric bypass, which will reduce the size of the stomach. In doing so, they’ll feel full with less food.
Ballooning for weight loss is also common. It is often recommended when surgery is not a feasible option.
What to know more about how it works? If so, be sure to keep reading!
10 Things to Know About Ballooning For Weight Loss
Thinking about getting the procedure? Here are some things that you want to know.
1. How Does It Work?
Gastric balloons are used in some weight-loss programs. It involves placing a soft balloon inside the stomach.
Non-surgical, the procedure is often painless and only takes about 20 minutes.
As the balloon inflates, it will partially fill the stomach; this will lead to a feeling of fullness. In other words, you’d eat less, which will reduce your total calorie intake.
Studies have shown that patients will generally lose at least 10% of their body weight.
2. It is an Endoscopic Procedure
Inserting the gastric balloon is an endoscopic procedure.
What this means is that the doctor will use an endoscope—a thin tube that comes with a powerful light and camera—to put the balloon into your stomach.
More specifically, the instrument will enter the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Once it’s in place, the doctor will inflate it with saline.
3. There’s More Than One Type of Balloon
There are three types of gastric balloons.
The Obera Intragastric Balloon System has been around for the longest. Placed in the stomach under mild sedation, it is filled with saline until it is the size of a grapefruit.
The ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon is a temporary implant that is designed to facilitate weight loss. The procedure involves inserting two saline-filled balloons into the stomach, where they will remain for six months.
The Obalon Balloon System is unique in that it is the first FDA-approved swallowable system. It does not require sedation or surgery; placement of each balloon generally takes less than 10 minutes.
4. Who Is Eligible for a Gastric Balloon?
Gastric balloons are an option for those who have failed to lose weight through lifestyle changes alone.
To qualify for the procedure, however, there are certain guidelines that you must meet.
More specifically, you must have a body mass index (BMI) between 40-45, or 35-40 with obesity-related comorbidities (e.g. diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure).
It’s also important that you’re committed to changing your diet and lifestyle. It would be difficult to achieve lasting success without that mentality.
5. There Are Risks Involved
As with all medical procedures, the intragastric balloon does come with a few risks.
The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, gastric reflux, and abdominal pain.
In some cases, the balloon can deflate inside the stomach. You’ll know when this has occurred if your urine turns blue or green. If this happens, alert your doctor.
Other complications include pancreatitis, perforation, and gastric ulcers.
6. How to Prepare For a Gastric Balloon
Your health care team will give you the specific instructions on how to prepare for your intragastric balloon.
It’s worth noting, however, that your stomach must be completely empty for the procedure—this will allow the doctor to have a clear view.
For this reason, you must not eat anything for at least six hours, or consume any liquids for four hours, before insertion of the balloon.
You might also need to stop certain medications. Your doctor will go over that with you prior to the appointment.
7. What to Expect After the Ballon Insertion
You might experience some stomach discomfort after the insertion.
Nausea and vomiting are also common following the procedure. Your doctor will give you medications to help you manage these symptoms.
Generally speaking, it will take three to four days for the symptoms to subside. In some cases, however, it can take a bit longer.
Avoid any physical activity for at least 24 hours after the balloon is fitted.
8. The Balloon Will Need to be Removed
Gastric balloons are a temporary weight-loss solution. Typically, your doctor will remove the device after six months.
Why? There is an increased risk of balloon perforation and deterioration past this time frame.
Once the balloon is removed, your stomach will return to its normal size. Ultimately, this is why you want to re-train your brain—that way, you’ll be able to better anticipate when you’re full, even when the balloon is gone.
9. It is Usually Not Covered by Insurance
Gastric balloon procedures typically cost under $10,000 in the United States. Nine times out of ten, however, they are not covered by insurance. With that said, some medical offices do offer financing options.
10. There Will Be No Lasting Effects On Your Stomach
The balloon has no lasting effects on the stomach—the organ will return to normal once it’s removed.
Without it occupying your stomach, you will be able to eat larger portions of food again. Ultimately, the success of the procedure depends on whether or not you’re able to carry on the same habits afterward.
Moving Toward a Healthier Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy weight is important when it comes to your overall health and wellbeing. Remember, obesity can lead to several conditions, some of which can be life-threatening.
Interested in ballooning for weight loss? Contact us for a free consultation!