25 August 2008

The procedure itself is simple, and serious complications are uncommon. In the scientific literature reported complications include:

If the Gastric Balloon ruptured it will usually pass through the bowel and be expelled quite naturally. However, in rare cases it may cause intestinal obstruction (blockage of the bowel). If this occurs, surgical or endoscopic removal would be required

Bleeding or perforation of the oesophagus or stomach could occur during the balloon insertion or removal, requiring surgical correction

Gastric discomfort like nausea and vomiting are common for the first few days following balloon placement. A feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, abdominal or back pain, gastro–oesophageal reflux or indigestion have also been reported.

In one of the largest published studies of the gastric balloon 1 involving 2,515 patients, the authors reported the following:

Implanting the BIB was uneventful in 99.9% of cases Overall complication rate was 2.8%, consisting of:
  1. Gastric perforation in 5 (0.19%) cases
  2. Rupture of the balloon in 9 (0.36%)
  3. Inflammation of the oesophagus occurred in 32 (1.27%)
  4. Gastric obstructions in 19 (0.76%)
  5. Gastric ulcer in 5 (0.2%)
  6. There were only 2 (0.08%) deaths
These results confirm that the balloon is a very safe intervention for the overwhelming majority of patients.

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