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Gastric balloon - a helpful technique for certain overweight patients

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Prof. Dr. Goran Marjanovic, senior physician in the Department of General and Visceral Surgery and head of the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery, talks about the latest means for weight reduction.

In the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery at the Medical Center - University of Freiburg, we regularly treat a great many overweight people using all the currently approved therapeutic methods. These include conservative treatment with nutritional counselling, psychological support and all the surgical treatment procedures (sleeve gasrectomy, gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion, adjustable gastric band) as well as endoscopic treatment options such as the EndoBarrier (especially for patients with diabetes mellitus type 2), and last but not least the gastric balloon.

Many patients are comparatively just a little overweight (BMI<35kg/m2) without relevant side-effects, for which surgical treatment is currently not recommended. And this is exactly where the gastric balloon helps. This is a balloon that is inserted into the stomach via a gastroscopy under short anesthesia, and is then filled with about 700ml of blue-coloured water. Thus it sits firmly in the stomach and can move neither forward nor backward. It gives patients the feeling of being satiated (full), so that they then lose weight from eating smaller amounts. An inpatient stay of 1-2 days is recommended, until the stomach gets used to the new situation. In the end, one can lose about 10-20kg weight within 6 months. But afterward the balloon must be taken out again, which means a general anesthetic in an outpatient setting. So for those who are relatively just a bit overweight, take few medicines (no blood thinners) and would like a jump-start for further, self-reliant weight reductions without diets or surgeries, a gastric balloon is definitely an option.

We will be glad to advise you about this in our special consultation hours, and make further plans for your treatment.