Gastric balloons



By 2018 gastric balloon systems comprise 2% of all bariatric procedures.


Gastric balloon systems are approved for patients with a BMI of 30-40 who have been unable to lose weight with diet and exercise and who participate in a weight-loss program.


Gastric balloons are intended as restrictive devices they take up stomach space and delay gastric emptying.


As of 2020 two approved gastric balloon devices: Orbera is a spherical ball with fluid filled balloon placed endoscopically, while the patient is under mild sedation.


This is a temporary system and requires endoscopic removal within six months of placement.


The second device is Obalon an air filled balloon delivered to the stomach inside of a swallowable capsule attached to a thin inflation catheter.


Endoscopic retrieval of the device is required at six months, but up to three balloons can be placed within that period.


Patients who receive a gastric balloon system achieve greater percentage of total body weight loss than those who underwent lifestyle modifications alone: at six months 14.2% vs, 48% and at 12 months 9.2 versus 5.2%.


Adverse events are frequent with either gastric balloon system and can occur in up to 91% of patients. 


Most adverse events are related to gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, and pain. 


Studies show less than 3% of events require removal of the gastric balloon system.


Spontaneous over inflation of fluid filled gastric balloon systems that can lead to acute pancreatitis have been reported.








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