Intragastric Balloon

What is the Intragastric Balloon?

The intragastric balloon is a device designed to facilitate weight loss of patients with obesity. It is a silicone balloon that, once placed in the stomach under endoscopic guidance, is filled with saline fluid and is left floating free inside the gastric lumen. The balloon decreases sensation of hunger, and promotes saciety. With the help of these two effects, one tries to facilitate carrying out a healthy diet, in order to promote changing previous wrong dietetic habits and reach the goal of weight loss. This is obtained following a nutrititional and psychological programme, which is mandatory to reach the goal and, more important, to maintain the weight loss along time.

Placement of the Intragastric Balloon

The intragastric balloon is indicated in obese patient with a total body mass index between 30 and 40 Kg/m2 (which is called “premorbid obesity”). Nevertheless, it is also indicated in cases of patients with morbid obesity in order to reduce surgical risks, or even in patients in which obesity surgery is contraindicated. The same way, with new devices approved, it is also possible to indicate the balloon in patients with milder weight excess in order to correct this fact.

The placement of the balloon is performed ambulatory, with the patient sedated and under endoscopic control. The balloon is introduced parallel to the endoscopy through the mouse, with no need to perform any surgery technique. This therapeutic act lasts approximately no more than 20 minutes, and after 30-45 minutes in the recovery room, the patient is able to go back home.

The first 2-3 days after the balloon placement, the patient can feel nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, due to the stomach is trying to be liberated from the balloon. To treat these symptoms, several drugs and nutritional counselling is given to the patient prior to the balloon placement. Once these few days are over, usually no more undesirable effects are present.

Placement of the intragastric balloon

Extraction of the intragastric balloon

Follow up and extraction

It is mandatory to understand that the balloon itself does not produce weight loss; it is necessary to continue a follow up programme with both the nutrition and psychology departments, which will indicate and supervise the diet. These physicians will also help the patient to learn how to afford anxiety and behaviour alterations which can contribute to unsuccessful goals.

The balloon is taken out after a 6 months period of time (although some balloons are designed to stay placed up to 12 months). This is also performed in an ambulatory manner, performing an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, reaching the balloon and extracting all the liquid inside it, so the empty balloon can be easily withdrawn with the help of the endoscope.

``The patient is the main actor in this movie. We put the means, we show the way and we take you by the hand during a time``

Dr. Sánchez Muñoz

Multidisciplinar Endoscopic obesity treatment Unit

Obesity is a major health problem worldwide. Its incidence is increasing considerably at any age, in both sex, and in such áreas, in an exponential manner. It is a silent health problem, worsened with the poor appreciation of the general population who does not associate obesity with medical problems.

The real life is that overweight and obesity shorten life expectancy, and collaborate to diseases grow, like diabetes, hypertension, low fertility and many others, as well as increases cardiovascular risks and bone problems.

On the other hand, weight loss achievement and maintenance is not an easy to reach goal, and many attemps to carry out diets, mainly at long term, fail. Help and work become necessary since long term maintenance of weight loss is mandatory.

In this context, we have developed a multidisclipinary Unit for the endoscopic treatment of obesity. It is formed by gastroenterologist, psychologist, nutritionist and endoscopic specialized nurses who, with joint work, are able to offer diverse focused therapies to lose weight and, mainly, to establish bases for cognitive changes necessary for weight loss maintenance.


Doctors of the Unit of Exception and Obesity

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