The gastric balloon, a new device to lose weight

Perhaps you have heard about medicines to reduce appetite, gastric band and bariatric surgery or bypass surgery that disrupts the continuity of the digestive tract and interrupts the absorption of nutrients that are consumed in order to lose weight. Now to this arsenal, a new device is attached, the gastric balloon . Here we describe what it is about.

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 40, that is, you are in the obesity group, and you have tried diets, exercise and nothing has worked for you, you may be interested to know that besides the gastric band and the more radical bariatric surgery (or bypass surgery), now the Food and Drug Administration (known as the FDA ) has approved a new device called ReShape dual ballon system that is like a gastric balloon to help to lose weight .

According to the information in the press release, it is not known exactly how it works, but it is believed that it causes a feeling of fullness (of being full) when it is introduced through the mouth through an endoscope (a very thin tube). to the stomach and filled with saline. Of course, it is not left indefinitely, it is a temporary balloon that must be removed after 6 months. The procedure to put and remove it does not require hospitalization. It takes less than 30 minutes.

How much weight could you lose? In the study they did, they included 326 patients with a control group. Those who had the gastric balloon for 6 months lost an average of 14.3 pounds or 6.49 kilos compared to those in the control group, who lost 7.2 pounds or 3.3 kilos at that time.

If you are considering talking to a doctor who applies the device, you should know that there are some risks during the placement. Among them: nausea, muscle pain, headache and, rarely severe allergic reactions, heart attacks, infection, tearing of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) or breathing problems.

Interestingly, this device has been used in Europe and South America and has only recently been approved in the United States. The FDA was expected to have several studies before approving it due to several complications that occurred with a previous device. It was a balloon in the stomach that emerged in 1980. Complications were that if the balloon was broken it would go to the small intestine causing obstruction or even perforation. For this reason the ReShape dual ballon system has 2 balls instead of one, so if one thing happens to you, the other remains floating and prevents this problem.

On the other hand, the new gastric balloon is not for everyone. Besides that the person must have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 to 40, there are some contraindications. Can not be used in people with inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease ) or bowel disease in general, if they have a hernia diaphragmatic or large hiatal hernia, if they have problems with stomach emptying, if they have had surgery previously-intestinal or bariatric, if they have an infection with H. pylori bacteria at that time, if they are pregnant and / or if they take aspirin daily.

Of course, the ideal is to establish eating habits and exercise routine that allow you to lose one to two pounds a week. But, when they do not work and even affect your health, it may be worth talking with your doctor about medications for obesity (which can also have side effects and can not be taken for a lifetime) or other procedures like this one. They are less invasive than a bariatric surgery.

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