Laparoscopic Surgical Department, Medical School, «La Sapienza» University, Rome, Italy.



The request to lose weight is expanding not only in obese and morbidly obese patients but also in overweight patients affected by co-morbidities as diabetes and hypertension and who do not tolerate diet regimen or lifestyle changes. The aim of this study is a multicenter evaluation of outcomes of intragastric balloon in overweight patients.


Patients (BMI 27-30 kg/m2) treated with a BioEnterics Intragastric Balloon (BIB) between 1996 and 2010 were extracted from the database of the participating centres in Rome (Italy), Liège (Belgium) and Madrid (Spain). Primary endpoints were the efficacy and safety at 6 and 42 months from balloon positioning. Secondary endpoints included resolution of co-morbidities.


A total of 261 patients were included in this study. The most common indication for balloon placement was a psychological disorder (54%). Mean body mass index (BMI) fell from 28.6 ± 0.4 at baseline to 25.4 ± 2.6 kg/m2 at 6 months and to 27.0 ± 3.1 kg/m2 at 3 years from BIB removal. The mean %EWL was 55.6% at 6 months and 29.1% at 3 years. Forty-seven patients (18%) had complications associated with placement of the intragastric balloon (leak = 28, intolerance = 14, duodenal ulcer = 2, gastritis = 1, oesophagitis = 1, duodenal polyps = 1). The rate of patients with hypertension decreased from 29% at baseline to 16% at 3 years. Diabetes decreased from 15 to 10%, dyslipidaemia decreased from 20 to 18%, hypercholesterolaemia decreased from 32 to 21% and osteoarthropathy decreased from 25 to 13%.


The intragastric balloon is safe and effective in overweight patients, helping to reduce progression to obesity and decreasing the prevalence of a number of important co-morbidities.