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Results of the gastric balloon

[Results of the gastric balloon]


The placement of a gastric balloon is a non invasive and temporary procedure for treating obesity. It is known for thirty years, and used to be very popular in the United States in the eighties. Then it has been discarded owing to poor results, and again used for a decade with a more reliable device (INAMED, USA). However there is no hype because of occasional unsatisfactory and temporary results.

Long-term results were eagerly expected, in order to answer the primary question: once a weight-loss has been obtained from an endoscopically placed balloon, is it possible to maintain it after it has been removed? One of the most experimented team worldwide has now released its data in a recent paper*.

In Belgique (area of Liege) 100 consecutive patients (77 F, 23 M) had a gastric INAMED balloon implanted and filled with 500 cc of saline serum. This took place between March 2000 and March 2002, and the patients were followed up to one year after the balloon had been taken out. Although the manufacturer recommends that the balloon should not stay beyond six month, many patients (48) kept it after a period of 10 months, with a mean overall duration of 9,9 months. Mean pre-operative weight has been 96 kg, and mean Body Mass Index 34 kg/m2 (25 to 60). Adverse effects of the balloon have been mainly nausea and vomiting (two thirds of the patients in the days following the procedure, and one third during the entire duration of implant).

No severe complication has been reported, but 20 patients had significant oesophageal inflammation (oesophagitis) at the endoscopy check before removal. At the time of removal, the mean weight-loss has been 12 kg, and the average excess-weight has been 40%. One year after the balloon had been taken out the losses were 8,6 kg and 27%, which is satisfactory if compared with conventionnal treatments of obesity (diet). Nevertheless, 44 patients had an unsatisfactory result. We therefore assume that gastric balloon is not suitable for any obese patient...

* What becomes of patients one year after the intragastric balloon has been removed? J Herve, CH Wahlen et col. Obesity Surgery 2005, 15: 864-870.

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