Weight Loss Surgery - Gastric Balloons

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12-06-2012, 08:03 PM
Anyone heard of these being used in North America? I think they're used in Europe with good results. I'd be interested in hearing about success stories and so on, because I'm despirate to get these pounds off.

12-07-2012, 12:48 PM
i've heard of them - there were some clinical trials here, but i'm not sure what happened. However, i don't think they went very far. ya gotta remember that with the balloons, they MUST be removed, so if you don't work really hard at maintaining the weight loss, it'll come back.

nothing is easy - there are no simple answers.

what made you think of looking into the balloon?

12-08-2012, 05:03 PM
Done some more research, they're used in my area but not really common, not like "traditional" WLS. Don't know if they even count as WLS in some ways so maybe I'm on the wrong board. They're expensive like 10K or so, and you swallow it and it stays in for 6 months then it's removed. Still looking at this cause it sounds interesting to me.

12-08-2012, 07:36 PM
If you are depending on a balloon to feel full and then it is removed, are you still going to feel full on less food? Think about it.

12-09-2012, 01:08 AM
One of the reasons you're not getting answers is because there aren't a whole lot of them. The balloon was introduced in the early 90s, and pulled off the market because of problems with deflating that caused serious blockages.

There's a new balloon that has TWO walls, so it's less likely to deflate. As noted in the links below, most of the trials have been done in Europe. The study reported at DDW noted that patients lost about 20 pounds. However, there's a possibility that there might be a place for this therapy in managing obesity. Just what that role would be, though, is still to be determined. Also, apparently it can be left in place for up to a year. And there's a hope that there will be some remodeling of the digestive systems and the signalling involved.

It's usually a bit difficult to take data that was done in Europe and translate it to the US. Their health system is so much different, and [at least according to my surgeon], Europeans are less likely to see the doc for discomfort than Americans are. But, European docs also intervene earlier than US docs on surgery for obesity, so patients there tend to be lighter than here.

If you're really interested in the balloon, your best bet may be to contact Obalon and see where the clinical trial is happening. Nguyen in California appears to be involved, and there might be other centers. I couldn't find any active trial on clinicaltrials.gov, so contacting the company would probably be the best way to go.

A key to success with the surgery is complying with the post-op eating and vitamin plan. I was unable to find anything that discusses what and how people eat afterwards [protein shakes or real food, or whether they measure/weigh everything], so I have no idea what to say about it.

There's a difference between the lapband and the balloon - the band is FDA approved and there are protocols set up, based on clinical trial data. The balloon hasn't been FDA approved, and the clinical trials are only just starting, so no one knows what the protocols should be.

I think people are just asking questions about a new procedure - just like you are. hope these links help





12-09-2012, 08:19 AM
I have thought about it. I'm not stupid. I think it might. Because your stomach gets used to a smaller volume of food. Kind of the same principle as gastric bypass -- there you are surgically making your stomach smaller. Kind of the same principle as lapband and what goes into your stomach, where you restrict the size of your stomach and that isn't necessarily permanent either. None of these solutions are permanant in any event. You can outeat your surgery, you can have your band removed, you have a balloon removed.
When you put a balloon in your tummy you are filling it up part way and the volume of food you eat to feel full is smaller. When the balloon is removed and your stomach is shrunk and your used to eating a smaller volume of food, that would be an assist to maintenance (not an answer).

I'm truly not trying to bash you, but there are some differences to note.

One, I'm not really sure that stomachs "shrink" in the manner that you state. Yes, while the balloon is in, it would have the same effect as the lapband. The physical discomfort of overeating allows people to lose weight. When people have the lapband removed (or have their fills emptied), regain is almost a given. The desire to eat is still there, but the physical discomfort is gone. You would be back to where you are now, ie, trying to control the hunger/volume beast. Some people are able to maintain a loss after their lapband is removed, but it is through sheer will, not because they have a shrunken stomach and are no longer hungry.

Second, and just to clarify, RNY is a bit different, as the stomach is permanently restricted. People do out-eat their surgery, but you imply that it is through eating large amounts of food. It typically occurs because they eat the wrong types of food, ie, drinking their calories or eating throughout the day. It is not because they are back to eating large volumes of food at once. I still have the same desire to eat large volumes of food; I know I need therapy to address the thinking behind that desire. RNY has done nothing to change that. If I could eat large volumes of food, I would. But I am physically unable to and I am monitoring my food choices to prevent weight gain. If I would have had the lapband or balloon (and it was removed), I'd quickly regain.

Again, I am not trying to dissuade you. Jiffy's original question does warrant thought, though. What happens when you remove the balloon? You might want to research lapband revisions/complications to see what happens to those folks after their band is removed, as I think you'd find it similar to what would happen after the balloon is removed.

Finally, support on any website, whether WLS related or not, doesn't always mean you get the answers you want to hear. Support is also asking questions you might not have considered and clarifying misunderstandings. I apologize if you mistook that for attack. I don't think anyone is saying you are stupid or it is wrong to pursue this method, but since it is new in the US, people are asking you to think about the procedure a bit more.

12-09-2012, 10:48 AM
oops! just checked your IP address, pixie - and you're in Canada! most of us are in the US, and, as we all know [and some of us DO NOT LIKE], our healthcare systems are quite different.

the balloon is approved for use in Canada, but not here. I'm not quite sure what data the Canadian Ministry of Health used to approve it, and it'll take me quite a bit of time to research.

in the meantime, have you found a surgeon who does it? That might be a good source to check out for some of your answers. If they have support groups, that's a good way to find out as well.

12-09-2012, 10:31 PM
pixie - you realize that you now have an assignment from us, right? you need to share the information you find!!! there's no doubt that it'll be coming here, but no idea when. I hope you'll go to at least one of the clinics in your area and get some answers. I'd be really interested in finding out what they recommend you eat/don't eat afterwards. And the monitoring - does it end up being more intensive than the lapband monitoring? the RNY and DS monitoring is less frequent, and involves blood work, but there's no need for adjustments [except for attitudes, of course].

thanks for the info... We have a thread here that folks who are in a clinical trial with gastric pacing are using - if you and a few others who are interested in or have the balloons, we can set that up for you.

12-10-2012, 05:14 AM
This baloons are used mainly preop, to lose that weight to make surgery safer, with the very obese patients. It can be in your stomach for six month and then they take it out. After that if you do not change your diet you can gain everything you have lost. It's the same as any other diet.