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Intragastric balloon

Obesity is one of the main diseases of the 21st century. The intragastric balloon , also known as an intragastric balloon, is one of the most popular and effective obesity treatments today.

It consists of inserting a medical silicone balloon into the stomach through an endoscope. Then it is filled with a saline solution, thus reducing the stomach’s capacity. In this way, the feeling of hunger significantly decreases, increasing satiety. The result is a remarkable weight loss in a short period of time.

Of course, for the results to be maintained in the long term it is necessary to make a series of changes in lifestyle . The patient must commit to following a healthy and balanced diet and doing physical exercise.


Obesity is a disease characterized by excess fat in the body . Experts point out that the risk of suffering serious pathologies in the long term increases significantly: hypertension, diabetes , myocardial infarction , depression, anxiety, etc.

As for the causes of obesity , the disease is generally due to both genetic and socioeconomic factors. This second aspect responds to new lifestyle habits acquired in recent years, especially in developed countries: sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, etc.

Symptoms of obesity

Regarding the symptoms of obesity, it is in the abdominal area where more fat accumulates, both in men and women. This causes breathing difficulties , even when doing activities that require minimal effort. This can cause what is known as sleep apnea, that is, the momentary stop of breathing during rest.

This disease also leads to orthopedic problems , such as low back pain or worsening of the symptoms of osteoarthritis , especially in the elderly.

Obesity in the world

Since 1975, obesity has increased threefold globally. In 2016, the latest period for which reliable data are available, around 1.9 billion adults were overweight, of which more than 650 million suffered from obesity of varying degrees.

Obesity also affects the little ones. In 2016 41 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese. The figure was considerably higher in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19: more than 340 million.

What is the intragastric balloon?

Intragastric balloon placement is a medical procedure to reduce stomach capacity . Thus, less food is ingested and a feeling of fullness is achieved quickly.

This obesity treatment is especially aimed at those adults who want to lose at least 12 kilos . It is also recommended for patients with any metabolic, heart disease, or that affects the digestive or respiratory system. In these cases obesity can be a very important risk factor.

The intragastric balloon is an inflatable device that is inserted through the mouth. Once in the stomach, it is swollen with saline or serum. Therefore, if the patient suffers any type of accident, such as a fall and the balloon is punctured, there is no risk of absorbing the liquid.

This is a suitable method to lose weight, which allows you to lose about 1 kilo per week in patients with moderate or severe obesity. However, it is important to emphasize that, for it to truly be an effective treatment in the long term, it is essential that the patient adopts healthy lifestyle habits.

One of the great advantages that this treatment offers for people with obesity is that hospital admission is not necessary . The procedure is carried out without incisions.

History of the intragastric balloon

This method was developed as a result of the observation by a group of scientists of the effects of weight loss in patients with a tendency to form large amounts of dietary boluses . The technique was developed in the early 1980s, progressively improving the procedure over time.

Candidate for the intragastric balloon

There are a number of “requirements” that must be met to be a suitable candidate for this procedure. People with grade I and II obesity , or what is the same, whose BMI is greater than 30.

In addition, for the placement of the intragastric balloon , it is essential that people have previously tried to lose weight with other diets and / or methods, but have not succeeded or have suffered the dreaded rebound effect. This is also a recommended treatment for those for whom gaining weight can pose a serious risk to their health.

In any case, it is important for a specialist doctor to assess each case individually, thus recommending the treatment that best suits the needs and lifestyle of each patient.

How is the intragastric balloon placed?

It is a very simple treatment that is carried out on an outpatient basis, with an approximate duration of 15 minutes. Therefore, it does not require hospitalization. Once the intragastric balloon is in place , the person must wear it for a maximum of one year. When this time has elapsed, the ball must be removed. To do this, it is punctured and removed by endoscopy.


  • Initial: the first phase begins when the patient goes to the doctor’s office for an evaluation. The clinics put at your disposal a complete team made up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists and anesthetists. Different tests and measurements are carried out: calculation of basal metabolism, muscle and body mass index, etc. Thus, they carry out a global study to determine if the patient can undergo treatment.
  • Placement of the intragastric balloon: 24 hours prior to the placement of the balloon, the patient must follow a previously prescribed diet. The procedure is very simple, it is carried out by endoscopy and under sedation. The period for the stomach to adapt to the device is between 48 and 72 hours. Therefore, during the first two or three days a liquid-based diet is followed. From there, the transition to the solid diet begins.
  • After treatment: the first month is very important for the stomach to finish getting used to the intragastric balloon. Also, the patient must get used to his new lifestyle. It is from the fourth month when the results of the treatment begin to be noticed.
  • Final phase: one month before the withdrawal of the intragastric balloon, the diet that the patient must follow the previous days begins to be planned. Once retired, you should continue to maintain your healthy lifestyle habits with the help of a nutritionist.
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Benefits of the intragastric balloon

The intragastric balloon has a number of benefits that are important to consider.

  1. First of all, it is interesting to note that it is a very minimally invasive treatment since it is performed without surgery. The gastric balloon is placed through endoscopy.
  2. Directly related to the previous point, during the procedure the patient hardly feels any discomfort. In addition, the recovery is very fast .
  3. Of course, the gastric balloon significantly improves the health of the patient because it improves their lifestyle. Thus, in addition to losing weight, it also minimizes the risk of suffering certain diseases related to obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle: diabetes, myocardial infarction, etc.
  4. The complications of this medical treatment are minimal.
  5. The benefits of the intragastric balloon also have to do with the patient’s self – esteem . The reduction of body weight translates in many cases into greater self-confidence, reducing anxiety and improving social relationships.

Disadvantages of the intragastric balloon

Although the intragastric balloon is a very beneficial treatment for obese people, there are a number of drawbacks that are important to highlight.

  1. During the days after the balloon is placed, it is common for the patient to have some symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting . General malaise is also a common sign.
  2. Of course, it is important to acquire healthy eating and lifestyle habits so that weight loss is maintained over time.
  3. The intragastric balloon is designed for those who wish to lose between 15 and 30 kilos . In the case of obese people who need a greater loss, they should opt for other treatments.
  4. In the days before the balloon is withdrawn, it is important that the patient prepares adequately by following the doctor’s instructions . Otherwise, the procedure may be suspended.
  5. And finally, once the balloon is withdrawn, the feeling of emptiness in the stomach is normal . For the treatment to really be successful, the patient must be careful not to overeat. Only then will you be able to lose weight or, at least, maintain the weight you have reached.

Intragastric balloon: contraindications and risks

There are a number of cases in which gastric balloon placement is not recommended: people who have undergone surgery on the stomach at some point , patients who have a disorder that the medical team considers is not suitable for this treatment and pregnant women.

Intragastric balloon and feeding

Once the intragastric balloon is in place, the patient must follow a progressive diet. The objectives to be pursued are twofold. On the one hand, that the body does not reject the device. And, on the other hand, achieve continued weight loss over time .

liquid diet

During the first 48 to 72 hours after the procedure, stomach discomfort is normal. That is why it is so important to follow a liquid diet . To avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies, a good option is to consume homemade ice creams made with natural fruits, as well as juices and cold isotonic drinks.

After the first days have elapsed after the placement of the balloon, the patient must follow a diet of liquid consistency for the next five days. It consists of consuming isotonic drinks, juices and infusions, in addition to two protein shakes a day.

Puree diet

The following week it is already possible to start consuming foods such as purees and creams . Also dairy, such as yogurts or smoothies.

Bland diet

Then begins the phase in which you begin to eat solid foods , although avoiding those that are too hard or dry. A good option is to eat cheeses, cooked vegetables, rice, pasta, etc.

Normal diet

And finally, once the previous phases have been overcome, the patient can begin to introduce solid foods into their menu, always progressively and following healthy habits.

The intragastric balloon is currently one of the most popular and effective treatments globally to reduce weight in obese people. A sphere-shaped device made of silicone, a very flexible and soft material. In practically 100% of cases it adapts very well to the stomach, without causing any discomfort or contraindication.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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