Are you finding it hard to lose weight, or do you know someone in that situation? Then you may want to look in to the latest in weight loss medical procedures: the gastric balloon. Placing a gastric balloon is safe and non-surgical, as it is completed by a gastrointestinal doctor using an endoscopic procedure. While reasonably new, it has already been proven to be a very useful and highly effective obesity treatment. It offers a number of key health advantages for people who suffer from obesity, and particularly for those who have tried various other methods to not avail. Of particular significance is also the fact that it can be beneficial to those who, for whatever reason, do not qualify for bariatric surgery.
What Is the Gastric Balloon and How Does It Work?
Basically, the balloon is a small silicone pouch that is placed inside the stomach of the patient through an endoscopy. Once placed, the gastrointestinal doctor will inflate the balloon, generally with a saline solution. This will make people feel as if their stomach is full, leading to them eating much less food. Because the balloon physically constricts the size of the stomach, it becomes impossible for people to overeat, something they are likely to have done for many years. After six months, the balloon is removed, at which point the patient has to commit to sticking to their new lifestyle.
The Qualification Criteria for Gastric Balloon Candidates
In order to qualify for a gastric balloon, you:
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Must not qualify for any other more invasive type of weight loss surgery.
- Have a BMI of at least 27.
- Must not be pregnant or trying to conceive over the next six months.
- Must follow the diet that your gastrointestinal doctor will prescribe you.
- Should not have had bariatric surgery in the past.
- Should not have, or have had, and bowel obstructions.
- Should not have a history of major kidney, liver, or lung disease.
- Should not have had gastrointestinal surgery in the past.
- Should not have received steroid treatment in the past.
- Should not have a current drug or alcohol addiction.
- Should not ever have had hiatus hernia.
The placement of a gastric balloon is incredibly easy and takes just 15 minutes to complete. The removal is equally quick and easy. However, it is a relatively new procedure, that has only recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a result, there are not yet many gastrointestinal specialists who have been trained in the placement and management of the balloon. However, this is changing very quickly, to the great relief and comfort of people who are struggling with their weight and have found themselves incapable of becoming healthy in themselves.
Do be aware, however, that the gastric balloon is not a magic weight loss device. You will have to work at losing weight, and particularly at maintaining your weight loss once the balloon is removed. That said, you will have six months to change your bad habits.