“If you change nothing, nothing will change!”
Intra-gastric balloon insertion is a non-surgical and reversible procedure in which a saline filled silicon balloon is endoscopically inserted into the stomach and kept in situ for a period of 6 months to a year. Balloon occupies most of the space in the stomach and leaves little room for food. On an average intra-gastric balloon surgery leads to about 30% excess weight loss. It also leads to improvement in other associated co-morbidities of obesity like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.
Eligibility for intra-gastric balloon insertion
- Intra-gastric balloon insertion surgery is meant for patients who wish to lose 10 to 15 kg of their weight. Balloon is a suitable option for overweight patients and patients with grade 1 obesity, especially if they have failed to lose weight with all other weight loss modalities.
- Balloon insertion is also a good option for super-super obese patients who are unfit for anaesthesia due to their weight. This procedure can be offered as a first stage so that the patients can lose some degree of weight and become fit for anaesthesia at a later date.
Preparation before the procedure
- First step is a consultation with the doctor and the team to decide on the eligibility for this procedure.
- Once we have decided to go with ahead with balloon insertion surgery, you will need to undergo a battery of tests. You may also need to see a diabetologist, endocrinologist, nephrologist, chest physician etc based on your clinical profile and associated co-morbidities.
- You will also need to be on a liquid diet for atleast 48 hours prior to the procedure.
- You will need to be fasting for 6 hours before the procedure.
- Intra-gastric balloon insertion surgery is usually performed as an out-patient procedure and most of the times no admission to the hospital is needed.
Mechanism of action of gastric balloon
- Deflated balloon is inserted through the mouth endoscopically and then saline is filled in.
- Intra-gastric balloon occupies most of the space in the stomach and leaves little room for food.
- Patient loses weight gradually over a period of 6 months to a year depending on the type of balloon inserted. OrberaTM intra-gastric balloon can stay inside for a period of 6 months whereas a SpatzTM balloon can stay in for a year. There are many other type of balloons as well but at the moment these two balloons are freely available in India.
- Unlike the OrberaTM intra-gastric balloon, fluid content in the SpatzTM balloon can be adjusted and titrated as per the weight loss at periodic intervals.
What to expect after balloon insertion
- Balloon insertion surgery is an out-patient procedure and most often you will be able to go home after 2 – 3 hours of the procedure.
- You will be on a liquid diet for about 1 week after balloon insertion.
- Most patients can tolerate the balloon well. Varying degree of nausea and vomiting is expected after this procedure for about 7 to 10 days. The team will prescribe medications to mitigate these symptoms but rarely they may be severe. In that case you may be asked to get admitted to the hospital for a few days.
- These symptoms are expected to settle down within 2 weeks and post that the balloon usually does not cause any issues and patients feel comfortable.
Expected weight loss after Intra-gastric balloon insertion surgery
- Patients may lose up to 30% of their excess weight loss after this intra-gastric balloon insertion. Weight loss is dependent on many associated factors such as initial weight of the patient, age, gender, associated co-morbidities, type of balloon inserted, behavioural modification made by the patient etc.
- Patients who embrace the lifestyle change and comply with behavioural modification guidelines as suggested by the team, tend to do better after any weight loss procedure including balloon insertion surgery.
- Please note that weight loss procedures must not be perceived as a short cut but need a lot of commitment from both, the doctor and the patient. It is mandatory to follow the diet prescribed by the team and to put in atleast 30 to 45 minutes of exercise on a daily basis to achieve best results.
Improvement in co-morbidities
- Balloon insertion surgery leads to about 25 to 30% excess weight loss over a period of 6 months to a year, depending on the type of balloon inserted.
- There is a significant improvement in associated co-morbidities such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, PCOD etc.
Removal of intra-gastric balloon and maintenance of weight loss after removal
- Intra-gastric balloon can be kept in situ for a period of 6 months to a year depending on the type of balloon inserted.
- Removal is also done endoscopically and usually takes about 20 minutes.
- Once the balloon is removed, there is no restriction anymore and there is a tendency to put on weight. It is advisable to remain in touch with the team and continue the diet and exercise program even after balloon removal.
- Patients may experience varying degrees of nausea and vomiting after balloon insertion surgery. This tends to settle down in a week to 15 days. Most often admission to the hospital is not required and these symptoms can be managed on out-patient basis. Some patients may experience an increase in acid reflux after this procedure.
- Very rarely, the balloon may burst inside the stomach. Do not panic!
Balloon is filled with dye stained saline and if there was any leakage of this saline, you will start passing blue colour urine. Please get in touch with the doctor and team immediately and they will schedule a balloon removal asap.
- Intra-gastric balloon insertion surgery is a reversible weight loss procedure. There may be a tendency to regain weight once the balloon is removed. This can be curtailed if you continue to follow a strict diet and exercise regimen after balloon removal. Please understand that the balloon is just a tool that pushes you to lose the resistant weight.
Cost of intra-gastric balloon insertion
Intra-gastric balloon insertion surgery cost depends on a lot of factors. Gastric balloon surgery cost varies depending on the type of balloon inserted and the number of adjustments required. OrberaTM intra-gastric balloon cost is lesser compared to the SpatzTM balloon cost. Cost of intra-gastric balloon surgery will be discussed by the team with you and all the pros and cons will be explained in detail. Cost of gastric balloon surgery will include the cost of insertion, adjustments and removal of the balloon. The cost of OrberaTM intra-gastric balloon is lesser compared to SpatzTM balloon as no adjustments are needed. The cost will be discussed with you during your consultation with us.
“Your body is your most priceless possession, so go take care of it.”