Intragastric balloons

What does this surgical act consist of?

This involves placing in the gastric cavity - under general anesthesia - a small balloon inflated with a mixture of physiological serum and methylene blue. This pose can only be performed if the stomach and esophagus are free of any lesions, which 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 is 1,70 m tall and weighs 60 kg, it is calculated as follows:

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

 What is the action of the ball?

 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 the first days after the operation?

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

What are the risks involved?

The risks and complications rarely occur, but they can be of two different kinds: some are linked to the balloon itself, others to the inconvenience it causes.

The flask

- He can deflate. In this case, methylene blue will leak into the urine and the urine will turn blue. It is then necessary to consult your gastroenterologist very quickly so that he can remove it.
- It can block the esophagus, in which case it will have to be removed.
- Bacterial growth in the balloon can cause 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 pathologies:
- a diverticulum of the esophagus;
- a hiatus 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.