For the 15 million Brazilians who struggle with balance, an alternative used before to undergo stomach-reduction surgery is a technique that introduces a silicone balloon in the stomach. The intragastric balloon simulates the feeling of satiety and decreases hunger, but their long-term results are still questioned by experts.

Regulated by the CFM, the balloon is designed for those super obese with body mass index (BMI) greater than 50kg/m2, and in the preoperative phase. It does not replace traditional weight loss programs, nutritional counseling and hormone requires, in addition to the adherence of the patient before, during and after the procedure.
The practice is surgical and therefore can not be compared to various types of bariatric operations. It’s like an endoscopy where the balloon is inserted into the stomach and filled with sterile solution of methylene blue infusion (500ml to 700ml) – lasts about two hours. The patient returns home shortly afterward. The balloon remains in the stomach for up to 6 months.


Henry Suplicy, an endocrinologist at the Department of Obesity member of the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (SBEM), refers to as a spa treatment for five months with specific purpose: some weight loss before bariatric surgery. “In principle, the method seemed to facilitate the reduction of food intake. However, in practice, for some people, it caused no effect, others do not stand a pound the ball in the stomach. ” For the specialist, the balloon can not be considered miraculous recipe for losing weight, nor should it be elected as a substitute for more invasive methods or higher risk. “What works for weight loss are changes in lifestyle habits. Besides being an expensive procedure (approximate cost of $ 7,000 to $ 10,000), most patients lose weight, but after five months of the withdrawal of the balloon, the recovery. ” The doctor of the digestive tract, Szeg Thomas, president of the Brazilian Society for Bariatric Surgery and Metabolism (SBCBM), agrees. “The treatment is expensive and its results are poor. Weight Loss ” “Not even the possible prohibition of Sibutramine (the substance was taken out of circulation in Europe), would give greater prominence to the balloon,” he adds.

Already Bruno Zilberstein, a specialist in gastrointestinal surgery and associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, says the method has its advantages. “It’s not surgical, requires no general anesthesia, is performed at the clinic or specialist clinics. And a proposal is much better than liposuction (contraindicated as a method of weight loss) and medications with side effects. However, its effect is of short duration and therefore is not for people who need to lose weight permanently. ”


Luiz Eduardo Campedelli, a gastroenterologist and endoscopist at Hospital Albert Einstein, highlights another advantage of this practice: the balloon is an alternative for those who can not get rid of obesity drugs. “Many patients are fenfluramine user, etc. hypercatabolic. When carefully indicated, in relation to the time of treatment, whether in relation to pathology, they are beneficial and appropriate. The problem is becoming widespread, the evidence that the risks are greater than the benefits. In such cases, the balloon may be a solution. ”

This was the case of electronic engineer Angela Maria Oliveira, who tried all kinds of treatment and diets without success. She says that after 45 years came to have more difficulty losing weight. The main reason for choosing the balloon was the fact that the procedure was not invasive.

“I used the bag for 7 months and lost 31kg. I went out and got the 107kg to 76kg. My history was one where the remedy would always take the credit for the weight loss. But the balloon, his eating habits and the introduction of physical activity allowed me to achieve that result. My collaboration was the discipline. After three months of the withdrawal of the balloon, the weight is still under control. The experience was smooth and fast. I had no reaction, “he says.


The new method of bariatric surgery called glastrectomia vertical-developed by the surgeon goiano Aureo Ludovico de Paula e Silva used by Faust – was accepted by the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) in February, in resolution 1942 / 2010 for the clinical treatment of obesity. Surgery removes 70% to 80% of the stomach and is still considered experimental.