Gastric Balloon vs. Implantable Gastric Stimulation Device

Gastric Balloon (Intragastric Balloon)

A Lighter Me does not recommend the gastric balloon surgery. For a better option, speak with one of our coordinators about a gastric sleeve surgery.

Overview

The intragastric balloon is one of the newer weight-loss procedures that is available for individuals who have tried to lose weight on their own but have not had much success. During this procedure, a silicone balloon that is filled with saline is placed in the patient’s stomach. This balloon makes the patient feel fuller faster, and it also limits how much food can be consumed at one time. It may also slow down the process of the stomach emptying, and it may change hormone levels that control appetite. All of this should contribute to moderate weight loss. The balloon is usually left in the stomach for up to 6 months, and then it is removed through an endoscope.

Patient Eligibility

The ideal candidate for this procedure has a BMI between 30 and 40, is willing to make lifestyle and diet changes, and has not had any type of stomach or esophageal surgery in the past.

Average Weight Loss Results

During the first 6 months after the procedure, patients can expect to lose approximately 10 to 15 percent of their body weight; however, many patients have reported a weight loss of more than 30 percent. The amount of weight loss depends greatly upon the patient’s adherence to diet and lifestyle changes.

Recovery Time

Typically, a liquid diet is required for the first week after the procedure. Soft foods will then be permitted, and after about three weeks, patients are usually able to return to a normal diet and normal activities.

Common Side Effects

About one-third of patients experience pain and nausea for the first few days following the procedure. These side effects can typically be treated with oral medication, and they usually are not very serious.

Cost

This procedure is typically not covered by insurance. Although it varies, the average cost is just above $8,000.

References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/intragastric-balloon/about/pac-20394435

Implantable Gastric Stimulation Device

Overview

Implantable gastric stimulation is a relatively new way to treat obesity. It does not change a patient’s anatomy or rely on malabsorption issues for weight loss, and it takes less than an hour to complete. It is also reversible. Using a laparoscopic approach, a device that is an electrical pulse generator, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted along the front part of the abdomen. Electrode leads are then placed in the gastric muscular wall. Once the surgery is complete and the patient has recovered, the device will be turned on, and the gastric stimulation will begin. The purpose of the device is to make patients feel fuller faster, which may help with overeating and binge eating. It is believed that when the device stimulates the stomach, a message is sent to the brain telling it that it is full.

Patient Eligibility

The ideal candidate for this procedure has a BMI over 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40 plus serious weight-related health problems.

Average Weight Loss Results

Since this is a relatively new procedure, there is not a large amount of data available regarding weight loss results. In general, it appears that patients typically lose between 5 and 17 percent of excess body weight from implantable gastric stimulation. It has been reported that some patients did not lose any weight and others actually gained weight after this procedure. Approximately 80 percent of patients have reported some weight loss, and 60 percent lost more than 10 percent of their body weight within 2 ½ years. In general, it appears that diet and lifestyle changes are necessary for weight loss to occur.

Recovery Time

Most patients are given approximately 4 weeks to recover from the procedure. Once the recovery is complete, the stimulation will begin.

Common Side Effects

Possible side effects from this procedure include abdominal pain, generalized pain, fever, and flatulence. Nausea, constipation, and hypoglycemia may also occur, but they are relatively rare.

Cost

The cost of this procedure varies, but it is likely to fall somewhere around $15,000 in the US. Insurance may or may not pay for a portion of this procedure.

References:
https://commons.pacificu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1242&context=pa