What is an oral intragastric balloon?
This is a new medical device; an implant designed for direct ingestion by the patient. The balloon is ingested in the form of a capsule which the patient swallows. When it reaches the stomach it is filled with a gaseous solution until it reaches a volume of 250 cc. More than one device can be swallowed, in all cases subject to medical criteria. The balloon insertion process is supervised by the medical team and does not require an endoscopy.
What does an oral intragastric balloon do and how does it work?
Once inflated and placed in the stomach, the oral intragastric balloon provides a sensation of satiation and lack of appetite that helps the patient change his/her eating habits, thus permitting weight loss.
For which type of patient is it indicated?
The oral intragastric balloon is indicated in moderately overweight or obese patients who have not been able to lose weight progressively with other programmes. Its use for losing weight before surgery can reduce the risks related to surgery in obese patients. However the main indication is in patients with an excess weight of 10 to 15 kilos (with a Body Mass Index of 27).
After ingesting the balloon, what treatments should be followed?
Swallowing the balloon involves only a minimum risk but multidisciplinary medical control is required afterwards.
Getting used to the oral intragastric balloon.
During the first few days, the patient will feel discomfort as his/her stomach gets accustomed to the presence of the balloon. They may feel nausea or experience vomiting or diarrhoea until their bodies adapt.
How long can it remain in the stomach?
The balloon remains in the stomach for 3 months from the time the first one from the series is inserted (more than one device can be inserted, in all cases subject to medical opinion, to obtain a larger volume inside the stomach).
How is the oral intrastric balloon removed? A tube is inserted in the mouth and the balloon is deflated and then extracted through the oesophagus and the mouth, once deflated. The procedure involves the use of an endoscope.
How much weight can one lose?
The amount of weight lost depends on how the patient adapts to the long-term changes in his/her lifestyle in terms of eating and exercise.
Studies have reported losses of over 40% in excess weight after 3 months of treatment.
Is it approved?
Yes, it is certified and approved by the EC.
Who are the best candidates for the treatment?
The ideal candidate for implanting an oral intragastric balloon is a person aged between 18- 60 years with a proven history of attempts to lose weight and failure.