The Gastric balloon, in the recent years has been employed for weight loss, in mildly obese patients. Here, a silastic balloon filled with saline, is place in the stomach endoscopically (through the mouth), to cause a sense of stomach fullness all the time and thereby reduce the intake of food. The effect is largely due to the physical nature and the balloon hence has no ability to correct the hormonal imbalances that cause fat accumulation. The main attraction here is that it needs no cuts or stapling etc of the stomach / intestine, and can be done as a daycare procedure. However, the serious draw back though is that it is temporary, and has a weight loss of only 20-30% of the excess body weight (compared to 60-80% with sleeve gastrectomy). The balloon also, cannot be left in the stomach for more than 6-12 months, hence requires another procedure to remove it. Most people regain their lost weight after removal of the balloon, if they have not already switched to a weight-loss diet and exercise routine. This procedure is suitable for Class 1 (30-35 BMI) obesity only. Before deciding to undergo this procedure, one has to weigh its pros and cons, along with the expenses involved for a temporary weight loss procedure. Some patients report to have used it to jump-start their weight loss routines, successfully.
Dr. James Zachariah - Obesity Surgeon,