Five People Die After Using Weight Loss Balloons for Obesity

If you’re reading this post I’m guessing that you’re either

a) struggling with your own weight loss or

b) have an active interest topic of weight loss.

With these presumptions in mind I also figure that you will understand the great lengths that people will go to in the desire to lose weight.  Recently I have had a number of conversations with people about bariatric or weight loss surgery. People are not always kind. Having listened to a number of lectures delivered by some of the most talented surgeons in the field and done some research of my own, I understand that undergoing bariatric surgery is not a decision made lightly.

In Australia patients must qualify under specified criteria to be deemed suitable for bariatric or weight loss surgery, it is not done on a whim as some people like to believe.

I was really saddened to read of the  deaths of five patients who since 2016 had undergone the procedure in the USA. All patients had undergone a Intragastric Balloon System insertion, and died within one month of the procedure.

According to the Obesity Surgery Society of Australia & New Zealand, Intragastric Balloon Systems are not a permanent weight loss solution, but used as a tool to assist the patient lose weight prior to definitive surgical interventions. They are designed to remain in situ for only a few months and are to be removed within 12 months (depending on the brand of balloon used). Of the five people who died in the USA, three of them died within one to three days after having the balloon inserted. What a sad, sad story.

Having worked as a nurse in a surgical ward I have looked after patients post bariatric procedures. These procedures can be tough for both the patient and the health care professionals, and for the patient the recovery is harsh. I have seen the fear of staff as they wheel the morbidly obese patient to the operating theatre……every surgery poses risks and being overweight or obese increases the risk of a catastrophic event.

I hold great respect for anyone who is trying to lose weight, regardless of the method they take to get there. What a sad, sad ending for these individuals. May they rest in peace.