Gastric Balloons; Are They Really Miraculous?

Over the past 3 decades, surgical solutions in a huge variety have been developed in order to fight off global obesity epidemic. The Gastric Balloons or Gastric Bypass is perhaps the biggest advancement in the field by this time. However, the surgery for weight loss is invasive, even when it is performed through the latest techniques of laparoscopy, and they still carry significant complications and mortality risks with them. Basically, a surgeon makes the decision whether the advantages of weight loss surgery are enough for any particular patient to outweigh the drawbacks, side effects and risks.

Who Cannot Have The Gastric Surgery?

There are many people who are considered as unfit or unsuitable for any kind of gastric surgery. The list of unsuitable candidates include:

People who have a BMI of below 40 and people who don’t have comorbid diseases

People who are of too young age

People who are obese so severely that they may not be capable of surviving the anesthesia

For all these groups of candidates, which makes up a sizeable amount, seems like there were no practical solutions. The young candidates would have to be patient and wait until they became old enough for the procedure, by which time these candidates would also become much heavier and would develop more illnesses. People with a lower than 40 BMI would get no other choice but to live with their existing poor lifestyle choices in order to gain some weight. While those candidates who were too obese for anesthesia, were simply supposed to be stuck in the situation for their entire life.

The Gastric Balloons

The 1st ever concept of Gastric Balloons was developed in the year 1984 and by Garren-Edwards. Though it was an extremely innovative and brilliant concept, it turned into a complete disaster. As it was termed, the gastric bubble, did not only have quite limited success rate but turned out as a dangerous procedure for patients. This happened because at that time it lacked a membrane for protecting it, therefore it would burst or rupture inside stomach of the patient and travel through intestines, where it used to become lodged. It created a life-threatening situation for patients and was abandoned quickly.

However, scientists did not lose their interest in the procedure or abandon it, instead in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved Orbera Gastric Balloons to be released in the market officially. This gastric balloon works on sample principles as the previously abandoned one with a difference that the new version is designed in such a way that it lasts in stomach while removing the threat of any serious complications. The entire procedure involves a patient who goes through endoscopy in which the balloon is carefully placed at top of stomach with the help of a tube. The very same tube is then used to fill up the balloon with saline solution before it is removed. This system is aimed to remain intact for 6 months whereas after this period it has to be removed with another endoscopic procedure.

This procedure so far has been the best one for weight loss. It is least invasive and comes with no complication or life-threatening risk except a temporary nausea.

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