No matter how hard you try to control those hunger pangs, there comes a time when you just give up and start raiding the fridge. In such, times one wishes there was a way to suppress this feeling of hunger. Luckily, the guys in the lab seem to have come up with a possible remedy in the form of gastric balloon which is gaining popularity day by day as an alternative to other medical procedures for controlling weight.

Functioning of the gastric balloon is simple as it consists of an inflatable silicon bag placed temporarily in the stomach, through the mouth and esophagus, in order to reduce the amount of food that can be stored creating a feeling of fullness. Gastric balloons are generally placed for a period of six months after which it is remove by endoscopy. Longer duration is not recommended as it may damage the stomach wall or cause result in degradation of the balloon. Results from patients who have used these gastric balloons show a decrease of 20-30% in their excess weight yet this decrease may vary from one patient to other. Discussion is made with the consultant regarding post procedure diet and exercise before carrying out the procedure so that the effective results can be achieved. Patient is required to not eat or drink anything 6 to 12 hours before the procedure. Body mass index of 30-40 is required to qualify for this procedure.

Advancements are taking place in gastric balloon technology leading to development of more efficient ways such as the new capsules which are simply swallowed and then inflated through a pipe. Up to three gastric balloons can be placed in the stomach of the patient without requiring any kind of sedation. Weight loss can be facilitated up to three weeks following which it is removed through a small endoscopic procedure. Use of gastric balloons is generally suggested for patients who need to lose weight before a surgery but can also be used by individuals as a non-invasive treatment for managing weight.

Most prominent benefit associated with the use of gastric balloons is staying safe from the risks that are associated with invasive surgery. It generally takes fifteen minutes to carry out this whole procedure with the use of only mild sedatives where the patient can go home on the same day. Compared to other operative procedures applied, level of physical damage and time of recovery is significantly less. Health benefits includes improving diabetes, cardiac issues, hyper tension, joint health etc.

Risks are present to a certain degree relating to complications that may arise from the procedure but most of them are non-serious. Rapid pace of weight loss may cause the skin to sag along with other issues relating to digestion. Position of the gastric balloon may get set in the stomach in such a way that it blocks that shape of food, due to which the reshape gastric balloon system was introduced through which two balloons were inserted decreasing the chances of blockage.

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