Intragastric balloons

What is this surgical procedure?

It involves putting in the gastric cavity - under general anesthesia - a small balloon inflated with a mixture of saline and methylene blue. This pose can be performed only if the stomach and esophagus are free of any lesions, that is why it is necessary to carry out an endoscopy beforehand to make sure.

Who is this therapy for?

It is only intended for obese patients, whose overweight can present serious physiological risks. Their body mass index (BMI) *, very high, is between 30 and 40, sometimes more. Generally, these are people who have failed to lose weight under a medically supervised diet.

On the other hand, the installation of a balloon is not at all indicated for the people a little coated which would have, for example, ten kilos to lose.

* Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing weight by height squared. For example, for a person who measures 1,70 m and who weighs 60 kg, we calculate it as follows:

60 / (1,70 x 1,70) = 20,7

What is the balloon action?

It helps to change the eating behavior of patients. Indeed, this ball causes a reduction in the volume of the stomach, so it provides a feeling of satiety fast. Eating less, patients lose weight accordingly.

It is important to note that the laying of a ball is always temporary. It is intended to radically change dietary behavior and must be associated, in the long term, with a regime under strict medical supervision.

What happens in the first days after the procedure?

The first days, after the balloon is placed, are often difficult: in general, the patient vomits a lot and must eat in small doses and mainly liquid foods. It is only after a week or ten days that he will be able to have normal meals again.

What are the risks?

Risks and complications rarely occur, but they can be of two different natures: some are related to the balloon itself, others to the inconvenience it causes.

The flask

- It can deflate. In this case, the methylene blue will flow into the urine and it will turn blue. It is then necessary to consult very quickly his gastroenterologist to remove it.
- It can clog the esophagus, in which case it will have to be removed.
- A bacterial proliferation in the balloon can cause an infection.

Other inconveniences

It is nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gastro-oesophageal reflux, bloating ...

What are the contraindications?

This therapy is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:
- a diverticulum of the esophagus;
- a hiatal hernia;
- gastric vascular malformation or oesophageal varices;
- inflammation of the stomach ...

In addition, the balloon is not recommended for pregnant women. If pregnancy occurs, the patient should have the ball removed. It is also for people on anticoagulants or aspirin.

There remain the cases of psychologically vulnerable persons who have had a psychiatric history or who are dependent on alcohol or drugs, for whom the installation of a balloon is not recommended.

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