The gastric balloon treatment was first introduced in 1985 as the Garren-Edwards gastric bubble (GEGB).
It was the first intragastric balloon to be approved for the treatment of obesity in the United States.
The cylindrical device was made of a polyurethane material that was filled with 200-220 ml of air.
Unfortunately, the U.S.’s first gastric balloon ran into problems. Its use became associated with a host of unfortunate conditions like small bowel obstruction and spontaneous deflation, among others.
Fortunately, the GEGB is no longer in use, but the concept of an inflatable device that helps patients overcome obesity lives on.
Today, considerable advancements in the design of the gastric balloon have led to the development of newer and better devices.
The gastric balloon is currently in use in multiple countries. It comes with the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now.
With so many backing the gastric balloon, the signs point to it being a viable solution to obesity. But let’s delve deeper and see what science has to say.
What is the Gastric Balloon & How is it Used for Weight Loss?
The gastric balloon, also known as an intragastric balloon, is one of two popular bariatric procedures for the treatment of obesity. The other most popular procedure is the gastric sleeve.
They made the balloon device itself out of a soft silicone material. The doctors implant the medical device into your stomach. The balloon is inflated endoscopically, whereby the filled balloon will occupy space where you normally store food. You will end up eating less and feeling “full” faster during meals. The result is rapid weight loss. But does the weight really fall off rapidly and will it stay gone for good?
How Does the Gastric Balloon Work for Long-Term Weight Loss?
To give you a better understanding of how the gastric balloon works, imagine your stomach as a pouch that can hold a certain amount of food. Your bariatric surgeon will use a flexible tube to orally insert the balloon device into your stomach. Your surgeon will inflate the balloon using an endoscopic camera. The balloon is inflated with a gas or air, depending on the model, whereby it will occupy the right amount of space for proper portion control. Now your stomach “pouch” is partially filled with the gastric balloon. The food you eat will need to co-occupy the remaining space in the pouch, forcing you to eat less.
The idea is that, even after the gastric balloon is removed in six months or a year, the balloon system will teach you how to eat properly for healthier living. That is why the gastric balloon tends to work so well for the long-term treatment of obesity.
Is the Gastric Balloon a Viable Treatment for Obesity?
The science points to yes, the gastric balloon is a viable obesity treatment. According to a study published in the NCBI, endoscopic bariatric treatment may be a useful alternative to other obesity treatments and provides lower risks than other conventional surgical procedures like gastric bypass surgery.
How Much Weight Loss Can You Expect with Gastric Balloon Treatment?
Once the balloon is filled, the gastric balloon can help you lose around 10%-15% of your total body weight in the first six months. That is the duration of treatment, whereby the balloon device will be removed. After six months, the effects of the balloon will no longer affect your stomach capacity or satiety, which means it will be up to you to continue your weight loss efforts. Overall, patients of the gastric balloon go on to lose 50% of their excess weight.
The Gastric Balloon Helps with Obesity-Related Ailments
Not only can get the intragastric balloon help you lose up to 50% of your excess weight, but the balloon device can make you less susceptible to various illnesses as a result.
For instance, many sufferers of obesity also have to contend with one or more comorbid conditions. These diseases can include type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and others.
Obesity is also responsible for around 5% of obesity-related deaths all over the world.
By losing weight with the gastric balloon system, many patients find that their co-associated diseases disappear completely or are at least drastically reduced in severity.
Gastric Balloon Associated with Minimal Negative Effects
Unlike the first gastric balloon model, the current batch of brand names like Orbera and Obalon come with minimal complications. When any minor side effects are reported, like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, they are usually a result of keeping the balloon in your stomach for longer than six months.
Choosing a skilled bariatric surgeon can help you ensure a successful treatment from beginning to end and beyond. That caliber of doctor will know when to remove the device and how to guide your success for long-term weight loss.
Speaking of long-term weight loss; we have established that the gastric balloon is a viable treatment for obesity, but how can you maximize your success?
Here are several tips to make sure you shed the excess weight the healthy and fast way. The goal is an obesity-free life, and it’s well within your reach.
How to Increase the Effectiveness of the Gastric Balloon
1. Follow Through
The gastric balloon cannot work for obesity until you make the ultimate decision to schedule surgery. Even though the gastric balloon isn’t surgery, the balloon device is considered a medical device. It’s a serious procedure and deserves thorough consideration. You are doing your part now by researching the device, and now you know that the gastric balloon system can help you live at a healthier weight. Your next step is to schedule a consultation with a gastric balloon specialist.
2. Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle
The gastric balloon device sits in your stomach, occupying space, which leaves less room for food. The balloon also stimulates the walls of your stomach, which sends neurohormonal signals to the brain that signal non-hunger and satiety. You will eat less and feel less hungry. You can eat healthier foods because you will begin to crave them. The hunger only begins when appropriate, and you will eat adequate portions of meals when dining. This helps the weight come off fast.
Yet when the gastric balloon comes out, that’s when the motivation and willpower to succeed fall back on your shoulders.
With the balloon removed, you won’t have that full feeling greeting you so soon after that first bite. You must learn to portion your own meals, and to consume food slowly, as if the balloon were still in place.
Commit to eating healthily and if you can get some regular exercise while you’re at it, you can lose weight and keep it off with the gastric balloon in your stomach, and even after it is removed.
3. Behavioral Therapy
In many cases, one or more mental health issues have contributed to a person becoming obese. These mental health issues can sometimes manifest into lifestyle habits that contribute to significant weight gain. In some cases, these unmitigated habits are so ingrained that they cause a gastric balloon patient to regain some of the weight they lost.
These habits can include overeating when stressed, binge eating while bored, and laying in bed for long periods when feeling depressed. Don’t think of these behaviors as defects but instead as obstacles you merely need to overcome.
Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist or even joining a support group of like minded individuals can help you reverse any mental health issues and bad habits that could threaten your weight loss progress.
4. Nutrition & Fitness Support
Eating right and getting regular exercise are key to losing weight for the long term. Your bariatric surgeon can put you in contact with various healthy lifestyle specialists like dieticians, nutritionists, and fitness experts. Together, along with your bariatric support team, you can form a healthy lifestyle plan that helps you drop the excess pounds and keep them off for life.
5. Find the Best Stomach Balloon Specialist
With the will to follow through with gastric balloon treatment, you only need to find the best bariatric specialist near you. The superior method for finding an experienced gastric balloon specialist is to log onto review sites like Obesity Help and Health Grades. There you can find true patient accounts for popular bariatric specialists like Dr. Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics.
Dr. Moein has a healthy track record of helping obese patients achieve long-term weight loss with treatments like the gastric balloon. As a gastric balloon specialist, Dr. Moein will give you a lifestyle plan that includes help from nutrition and fitness experts. The doctor can give you tools to overcome mental health challenges and can ensure you follow through with your extreme weight loss long into the future.
Get started now with the gastric balloon by calling Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles. The doctor and his bariatric care team are waiting to hear from you.