Why gastric balloon is gaining in popularity as a weight loss procedure

For people who haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, gastric balloon is emerging as an effective and affordable non-surgical procedure, says Dr Girish Juneja, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai. An expert who has conducted more than 1,000 bariatric surgeries in the UAE – from complex laparoscopic procedures and gastric bypass to gastric sleeve and gastric bands – Dr Juneja considers the capsule, or Elipse gastric balloon the safest non-invasive weight loss programme.

“The procedure doesn’t need hospitalisation, surgery, sedation or endoscopy,” says Dr Juneja. “You walk in and out of the hospital in about 30 minutes.”

The procedure doesn’t need hospitalisation, surgery, sedation or endoscopy.

– Dr Girish Juneja, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

The Radiology Department is where all the action takes place. If you are overweight with a body mass index of 27 and above, you are eligible for this safe and simple procedure. All you need to do is swallow a vegetarian capsule connected to a thin catheter. An X-ray ensures proper placement of the capsule in the stomach, which soon degrades and releases the balloon. The balloon is then filled with 550ml of sterile water (takes about 5-7 minutes). Another X-ray confirms it’s filled properly and then the catheter is removed.

The balloon, the size of a grapefruit, takes up space in the stomach creating a feeling of fullness thereby reducing food intake and increasing duration of satiety. This results in a loss of up to 10-15 per cent of the body weight in about four months – (on an average about 10-15kg)

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“During the initial adjustment period, for 3-4 days after the placement, you may feel nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps but with our special pre-placement preparation we are able to reduce these symptoms and duration to minimal in our patients,” explains Dr Juneja. “We’ve already carried out hundreds of these procedures with successful long-term results with our team approach. There’s no other medication involved or serious side effects.”

The best part is that you can start your weight loss journey right in the middle of a pandemic without worrying about exposure to other patients or people at the hospital.

After the procedure, Al Zahra Hospital’s bariatric team that includes a nutritionist will review your diet and weight loss pattern at regular intervals – after one week, two months and four months – and come up with a healthy eating and exercise plan to ensure optimal weight in the long term.

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What’s more, you don’t have to worry about getting rid of Elipse unlike endoscopic gastric balloons such as Orbera, Spatz and MedSil, which require you to be in the hospital for three-to-four hours for placement as well as removal through mouth.

Thanks to Elipse’s advanced technology, the time-activated release valve on the balloon opens up after 16 weeks and it passes out of your system when you use the toilet.

However, Dr Juneja emphasises that it is imperative for patients to continue with the new eating habits and changed lifestyle once balloon passes out to keep off the lost weight.

For more information call 04 378 6666 or visit azhd.ae

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