Schematic design of the intragastric balloon

Intragastric Balloon

Placement of an intragastric balloon is an endoscopic and outpatient procedure. It does not require an operation or formal anesthesia. A deflated balloon is placed within the stomach. After its correct positioning is confirmed, the balloon is inflated and so it takes a significant part of the space available in the stomach. The much smaller space available in the stomach allows for lower food quantities consumed, simply because there is no space for it to be stored. The patient has a feeling of a “full stomach” and this prevents him/her from eating more. This process leads to weight reduction. Although this looks great in theory, reality does not match it. In real life, patients tend to lose some weight, but not significantly more compared to a moderate diet. However, the big disadvantage of this method is the fact that the balloon should not stay in the stomach for more than six months because the wall of the stomach gets thicker and thicker. The balloon should be always removed in six months, and this unfortunately results in weight regaining in most patients. Currently, the intragastric balloon is not considered a definitive treatment of obesity. It may only be an acceptable option for individuals who desire to lose no more than 10 kilograms, but certainly these do not suffer from morbid obesity.