An Intra-Gastric Balloon ('IGB') is a medical device that is inserted into the stomach via the mouth and oesophagus using an endoscope. It is not a surgical procedure as no incisions are required. The medical device is a soft expandable 'balloon' that works by limiting the space inside the stomach for food, which has the effect of reducing hunger and helping reduce food intake.
It is designed as a temporary method of assisting weight loss, and the device is generally removed six months after it was inserted. In the past an IGB was used to help patients lose weight before a full surgical procedure such as a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass, but now these patients are generally put on a very low-calorie diet ahead of the procedure.
An Intra-Gastric Balloon is now predominantly an option for patients who are borderline obese (BMI 27-35) that have not been able to lose weight using weight loss program, and who would prefer not to undergo permanent bariatric surgery. During the six-month period that the balloon is in place, weight loss of 10kg-30kg is what should be expected.
This option is only offered to patients who enrol on a 12-month weight loss program in Lismore, Tugun and surrounding suburbs. There are other suitability criteria for this procedure which can be explained at the initial consultation at Core Specialist Group.
The procedure is conducted under intravenous sedation (this is a form of 'twilight sedation' as opposed to a general anaesthetic). The balloon device is inserted into the stomach via the mouth and throat with the aid of a miniature video camera and light on an endoscope. When it is correctly positioned in the stomach, a sterile saline solution is injected into the balloon (550ml-750 ml is normally used). The procedure generally takes no longer than 20 minutes and is performed on a day clinic basis.
Postoperative Instructions for an Intra-Gastric Balloon
There are some possible side effects once the Intra-Gastric Balloon is in place. These are...
To an extent this can be managed by making sure food portion sizes are correct and other lifestyle changes; in some cases, medication (or changes in medication dosage) may be required.
This is not uncommon and can often be resolved with a 24-hour period of clear fluids only (carbonated drinks such as diet ginger beer are effective) to allow food in the stomach to dissolve.
This is where the balloon moves out of position, and if you feel any abdominal cramping this may be the cause; we will give you specific instructions as to how to move the balloon back into the correct position; sleeping on your left side can also help with this.