Dr Heikal Mahmoud Clinic

Choosing between Gastric Balloon and Smart Capsule

There are many Bariatric surgeries, and the choice of the type of operation is based upon many factors such as BMI, weight, chronic diseases resulting from obesity, some tests, and many other factors.

Among these operations, there are the Gastric Balloon and the Smart Capsule, there is a slight resemblance between them, but also there are many differences.

Gastric balloon operation:
1- A silicone Gastric Balloon is installed endoscopically in the stomach, and it is filled with a sterile medical solution, and it occupies a large space from the stomach so that the person feels full quickly and satisfied from the least healthy meal.
2- Suitable for those with BMI less than 30, more precisely who are overweight about 15-20 kilos.
3- It is a simple procedure, performed through local anesthesia.
4- The operation lasts about 10 minutes and lasts in the stomach for about 6 months to a year, which is determined according to the case, and is removed after this period endoscopically.

Smart Capsule:
1- It is also called the programmed capsule, and it is the first internationally authorized capsule.
2- The smart capsule is American manufactured, which is made up of a safe material that does not cause any irritation to the stomach wall.
3- It is suitable for those who suffer from simple obesity or a BMI less than 30.
4- It does not need surgery or endoscopy.
5- It does not need general or local anesthesia.
6- It is swallowed with a glass of water like any normal capsule.
7- The capsule is inflated with a specific liquid through a thin tube attached to the capsule.
8- After the capsule is inflated, the valve is detached from it and pulled through the mouth.
9- The capsule becomes in the form of a Gastric Balloon, as happens in the laparoscopic Gastric Balloon operation, which helps reduce the amount of food per meal and the person feels full quickly.
10- The body gets rid of it after 4 months, as it automatically decomposes in the body and is excreted from the body through the feces.

The relationship of Gastric Balloon and Smart Capsule to obesity:
Patients with simple obesity are good candidates for both Gastric Balloon operation and the Smart Capsule, but the patient who is highly overweight and has a BMI of more than 30, may lose weight for a short period through one of these two methods, but soon he will gain weight again, so the appropriate solution with these people is to resort to other bariatric surgeries such as Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, or Sasi Bypass.

Which is better the laparoscopic Gastric Balloon or the Smart Capsule?
There are many advantages of the Smart Capsule over the Gastric Balloon, because it is a safer and easier procedure for both the doctor and the patient, as there is no need to resort to endoscopy, anesthesia, or an operating room. 

However, the choice of the appropriate surgery is the decision of Dr. Heikal Mahmoud, who is experienced and honest in choosing the appropriate procedure for the patient to reach the desired result.

Is the Smart Capsule available in pharmacies?
No, it is only available at the bariatric surgeon clinics and is not allowed in pharmacies, because the bariatric surgeon is the most experienced and knowledgeable person of how to fill the Smart Capsule with liquid and pull the valve from the mouth, and to protect the patient from any complications due to person’s misuse.

Are there complications after the laparoscopic Gastric Balloon procedure?
If the doctor is not experienced and competent in bariatric surgeries, some complications may occur, such as:
1- Irritation of the stomach wall that may reach to bleeding in some cases.
2- Colic, nausea, and vomiting.
3- There is a low probability of bacterial growth in the solution in the Gastric Balloon.
4- Damage of the Gastric Balloon due to digestive secretions, this can occur if the balloon material is bad or if the balloon continues for a year.