POST Online Media Lite Edition


NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES (11.19.2021, 4:50pm CEST, WHO):   India 11,106    Brazil 11,977    United Kingdom 46,858    Russia 37,156    Turkey 22,234    France 19,840    Argentina 1,553    Germany 52,970    Spain 3,932    Columbia 2,257    Italy 10,645    Mexico 3,836    Ukraine 20,050    Poland 23,242    Philippines 1,297    Malaysia 6,380    Netherlands 23,680    Peru 1,370    Thailand 6,855    Czechia 13,374    Canada 2,448    Romania 3,076    Chile 2,611    Serbia 3,219    Sweden 1,210    Portugal 2,398    Vietnam 10,223    Kazakhstan 1,272    Austria 14,212    Hungary 11,289    Greece 7,276    Georgia 4,278    Bulgaria 2,785    Belarus 1,844    Slovakia 7,418    Azerbaijan 2,124    Croatia 7,270    Bolivia 1,119    Ireland 4,646    Lithuania 1,847    Denmark 4,013    South Korea 3,034    Slovenia 3,662    Latvia 1,221    Laos 1,401    China 31    New Zealand 200    Australia 1,302   

The intra-gastric balloon

Abraham Eisenstein, M.D. |
If you want to lose weight or you are extremely overweight, the intra-gastric balloon may be the answer.

Article continues below

So, why people eat? Because they are hungry, of course, and from that a natural idea came to life: let's put something in the stomach to restore the felling of fullness, to forget hunger and that in turn will result in less eating.

The gastric balloon is a silicone sack filled with sterile saline which is inserted into the stomach via endoscopy, so no surgery is required, but the procedure requires general anaesthesia. This procedure is in fact a non-invasive procedure and the patient usually stays in the hospital just 12 hours, and after that he can go back to his daily activities.

This procedure is reversible which means that the balloon can - and will - be removed via endoscopy. It will be removed after six months which means that a) it is a temporary help and b) it can help in losing weight before some other medical procedure.

The balloon is usually an option for obese people with very high body mass index in which case some other procedure, like gastric banding, is extremely difficult. However, there are absolute contraindications: the intra-gastric balloon must not be fitted in teenagers, patients with a large hiatus hernia, or in those with malignant lesions.

There are also temporary contraindications that can prevent the inserting of balloon, but when the condition is cured, we can go with the balloon. Those are bulbar ulcers and round ulcers, the conditions that must be treated before balloon is inserted.

When the balloon is inserted, the doctor will follow the patient on a weekly basis, especially if vomiting occurs or if he suspect that balloon migrated in some other position. In the first week after the operation the patient is on the liquid diet and he must drink lots of water.

After that the solid food enters the game and the dietician gives precise instruction what and how much to eat. We call that "gastric balloon diet" and it serves two purposes: it focuses on losing weight and it help patient to adapt to the new eating style.

As is the case with any surgery, the balloon can have its complications too. The largest number of them is related to anaesthesia and other medical conditions, and in fact if the new generation of balloons is used there are almost no complications.

During those six months the patient can lose some 20 kilograms, but of course that number depends on the starting weight and how well the patient follows the new diet. It is important that during that time, especially in the first three weeks, cramping, nausea and vomiting are normal and lots of water will help with that. After that the gastric balloon will be removed, again via endoscopy, and the rest of the treatment can begin.