Intragastric Balloon Procedure: The Non-Surgical Weight Loss Option

Intragastric Balloon Procedure: The Non-Surgical Weight Loss Option

Intragastric Balloon, Bariatric Surgery, Weight Loss Procedures
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Increasing living standards in many of our communities has led to an outbreak of obesity, which is almost assuming epidemic proportions. Not all forms of obesity are amenable to diet and exercise, but one method of weight management that is becoming increasing popular because of its efficacy and non-surgical nature is the intragastric balloon procedure.

What is intrasgatric balloon procedure?

It is an innovative procedure for managing overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) over 27. An Intragastric ballon procedure is suitable for people who have not responded to diet and exercise but are below the BMI criteria for obesity surgery. In general, individuals with a body mass index (BMI) over 25 are considered overweight.

The first line of managing overweight individuals is to offer dietary advice and encourage lifestyle changes that will result in weight reduction. When these measures fail, more invasive procedures are usually considered. Unlike gastric banding or gastric bypass, an intragastic balloon procedure is a short term, non-surgical weight loss alternative which is available in Singapore.

How does it work?

A soft, expandable silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach through the mouth and the oesophagus by means of an instrument called an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube carrying a camera and a light source at the tip to enable an operator to visualise the internal parts of the body.

Once inserted into the stomach, the balloon is expanded by filling it with sterile saline fluid so that it partially occupies about a third of the space in the stomach. This results in a feeling of fullness. The individual feels full quicker, leading to a significant reduction of portion sizes and a gradual reduction in weight. The balloon has a self-sealing valve which enables it to float freely in the stomach without spilling its liquid content and it is too large to pass into the bowel.

The benefits of a gastric balloon procedure in Singapore

The procedure does not involve surgery and as a result, the risk of complications is minimised. It can be carried out on a day case basis with minimal interruption to daily activities. When used in conjunction with a supervised diet, it can achieve the desired weight loss for managing patients with type-2 diabetes, hypertension and other medical conditions. It can also be used for initial weight reduction in severely obese patients who are considered at risk of undergoing weight loss surgery in Singapore.

Limitations of the procedure

The balloon can only remain in place for a period of six months as the acidic environment in the stomach begins to weaken the material of the balloon and will cause the balloon to deflate if it is left in position for a longer period. The effect of the balloon is therefore temporary, but it offers an initial momentum for weight loss, and it is especially beneficial if the patient can sustain the momentum with exercise and dietary measures after the balloon is removed.

How safe is the procedure?

The procedure is relatively safe when compared with surgical methods of weight reduction, especially when carried out at experienced centres such as the weight loss surgery Singapore. It is however necessary to be aware of the general risks associated with minimally invasive procedures such as minor bleeding, pain, nausea and vomiting. Some patients may also experience indigestion or a feeling of heaviness in the abdominal area. For more information about the intragastric balloon procedure, please get in touch with us with all