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Gastric ballooning (called an intragastric balloon or Orbera balloon – a popular brand of gastric balloon) is one of the non-surgical weight loss procedures. It is also a short-term treatment, but of course the effect lasts. The main tool for the procedure is a soft, flexible silicone balloon. Such deflated balloon pills are endoscopically inserted into the stomach (alternatively, the balloon can be placed through the esophagus). After insertion, the surgeon inflates the balloon with salt water to the size of a grapefruit. Your stomach is 1/3 full, so you feel full faster and eat less.
The entire balloon procedure takes approximately 30-60 minutes and is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The residence time of the balloon in the stomach is limited to 6 or 12 months, as stomach acid tends to damage the balloon material over time. However, it’s enough time to lose a lot of weight and get used to eating little by little without balloons.
Prior to the procedure, the patient is encouraged to discuss all aspects of ballooning, including potential risks and complications. All questions and concerns must be addressed before consenting to surgery. Once the patient decides to have it, there is a consent form that must be completed. There, the patient must admit to being aware of all possible side effects and complications that may arise in the future and, most importantly, to give truthful words about their health. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you obtain as much information as possible from your surgeon before making a final decision.
Orbera gastric balloon surgery takes about 30 minutes, but can take up to an hour in some cases. First, the patient is anesthetized and sedated. Before the actual procedure, a gastrologist examines the patient with an endoscope to see if the esophagus and stomach can withstand the balloon (eg, for inflammation or ulceration).
Traditionally, and most commonly, gastric balloons are inserted into the stomach endoscopically. A special camera and a deflated balloon are attached to the end of this small, flexible tube. A tube is passed through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach and a camera is used to position the balloon in the correct position. Once the balloon is in place, it is inflated with saline (salt water) to fill approximately 30-40% of the stomach. The surgeon then pulls the tube out of the mouth as well. After the procedure, the patient should rest and be under medical observation for several hours. Patients may experience numbness and pain in the throat. If they are in pain, it is advisable to ask their doctor about medication. Patients can usually be discharged on the same day, but are prohibited from driving for 24 hours. Therefore, you may need help during the day.
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