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What is a Swallowable Gastric Balloon? How To?

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What is a Swallowable Gastric Balloon? How To?

The number of obese people around the world has increased day by day due to various factors, especially wrong eating habits. This situation has brought innovations and developments in the treatment of obesity. One of the non-surgical treatment options for obesity is new generation gastric balloons. What is a swallowable gastric balloon? To whom does it apply? What are the advantages? If you want to get answers to questions like these, you can read the rest of the article.

What is a Swallowable Gastric Balloon?

Obesity is a global health problem that worries healthcare professionals today. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is the accumulation of more fat in the body than necessary. In this context, people with a body mass index over 30 are considered obese. While obesity itself is an important health problem, different diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, are associated with obesity. Therefore, obesity must be treated without delay in order to improve the quality of life of patients and prevent more serious health problems. In patients who cannot lose weight with diet and exercise, it is important to first determine the factor that causes obesity.

Various surgical and non-surgical treatment methods have been used in the treatment of obesity for many years. Which of these methods will be preferred is decided by looking at the patient’s general health condition, height, weight, age and gender. Gastric balloon is a medical device that allows non-surgical treatment of obesity. The patient, whose stomach volume decreases with gastric balloon treatment, consumes less food in a single meal; However, the feeling of fullness lasts longer. During gastric balloon application, a special device made of silicone containing liquid is placed in the stomach with the help of an endoscope. During this treatment, which is applied with the endoscopy technique, the patient is given a light anesthesia (sedation).

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Today, with the help of developing technology, it is possible to treat obesity without the need for endoscopy and anesthesia, thanks to the swallowable gastric balloon. Swallowable gastric balloon, like the gastric balloon applied by endoscopic method, reduces the volume of the stomach, thus helping patients feel full in a shorter time with less food. Swallowable gastric balloon is a medical device that can be swallowed with water. Since there is no surgical intervention, the patient can return to his daily life in a short time.

Who Can Have Gastric Balloon Procedure?

When deciding on the treatment method for obesity patients, doctors first take into account the patient’s body mass index. In people with a body mass index below 30, the patient is expected to lose weight primarily through diet and exercise. However, in cases where the patient needs to lose weight quickly, such as health problems that carry the risk of being overweight, doctors may re-evaluate the patient for suitability for the gastric balloon. Gastric balloon may not be suitable for people with a body mass index over 40, and surgical treatment of obesity is generally considered. In addition, people with health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and heart disease may also decide to apply a gastric balloon.

What is the Gastric Balloon Application Process?

During the gastric balloon application process, a detailed medical history of the patient is first taken. Before the procedure, the specialist doctor gives detailed information to the patient about gastric balloon application. Medication may be recommended for the patient to adapt to the gastric balloon and to prevent complaints such as nausea. During endoscopic gastric balloon application, the patient is given sedation to ensure relaxation. Then, the doctor performing the procedure examines the stomach and esophagus in detail with the help of an endoscope to ensure that the patient does not have health problems such as ulcers. If the patient does not have any health problems, a catheter with an uninflated balloon at the end is inserted into the endoscope. With the help of the endoscopy device, the catheter is moved towards the stomach. Then, with the help of an endoscopy device, the balloon is inflated with a substance called saline.

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The most important feature that distinguishes the swallowable gastric balloon application from the endoscopic gastric balloon is; There is no need for sedation or an endoscopy unit during the procedure. The patient swallows the capsule-shaped balloon with some water. After the patient swallows the balloon, the specialist displays the position of the balloon with the help of an x-ray device. There is a thin thread-like device at the end of the capsule that provides connection to the capsule. When the capsule is positioned in the right place in the stomach, the doctor inflates the balloon with approximately 550 cc of liquid with the help of this apparatus. Then, another x-ray is taken, and if there is no problem, the device at the end of the balloon is removed.

How Long Does Gastric Balloon Application Take?

Endoscopic gastric balloon application is performed in the endoscopy unit and under sedation to relax the patient. Therefore, the duration of the procedure varies between 20 minutes and 1 hour. Since no anesthetic medication is administered to the patient during the swallowable gastric balloon procedure and the procedure does not need to be performed in the endoscopy unit, the application is completed in approximately 15-20 minutes and then the patient can return to his/her daily life.

How much weight can be lost with the swallowable gastric balloon method?

Swallowable gastric balloon reduces the volume of the stomach and helps you feel full in a shorter time with less food. At the same time, some studies show that the balloon may also help regulate hormone levels that control appetite. After the application, patients’ attention to their diet and regular exercise helps to achieve results in a shorter time. However, the majority of patients lose 10% to 15% of their body weight in the first 3-4 months after placement of a swallowable gastric balloon.

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What Should Be Considered After the Procedure?

Since the patient is not sedated in the swallowable gastric balloon procedure, the patient can return to his normal life after leaving the clinic. He/she can continue activities such as swimming, flying, and exercising. Doctors may prescribe some medications to the patient to prevent the patient from experiencing stomach discomfort in the first few days. Although rare, some patients may complain of nausea and vomiting for a few days until the stomach adapts to the balloon. If these complaints persist for a long time, the doctor should be informed. It is recommended that the patient eat liquid foods for the first 1-2 weeks after the procedure. After 2 weeks, soft foods can be added to the diet list. After approximately 3 weeks, the patient can start normal nutrition. After the procedure, regulating the patient’s diet with the help of a dietitian helps the weight loss process.

Does the Gastric Balloon Stay in the Stomach for a Lifetime?

Gastric balloons, which are placed in the stomach endoscopically, are left in the stomach for approximately 6 months. Then, it is removed from the stomach with the help of an endoscopy device. The swallowable gastric balloon has a valve at the end that helps inflate the balloon. This valve has a fusible feature. Therefore, no other intervention is required to remove the swallowable gastric balloon. Within an average of 4 to 6 months, the valve on the balloon melts and the liquid inside the balloon drains. This liquid does not have any harm to the human body. As the liquid inside is drained, the balloon shrinks and becomes able to pass through the intestines. Thus, the shrinking balloon is spontaneously eliminated from the body along with the feces.

Obesity is a serious public health problem that is common all over the world and can cause significant health problems if left untreated. It is important for the person to feel good both aesthetically and to be at the ideal weight for a healthy life. Do not forget to consult a specialist doctor to get information about obesity treatment options.

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