Usually, people who need to lose weight permanently undergo bariatric surgery to reduce the size of their stomach. While this method is really effective, there are certain risks and cautions to take into consideration. The patient also has to undergo a long period of physical and psychological preparation for the surgery. The total cost of everything can also be pretty expensive.
But now, scientists were able to create a balloon that can be swallowed like a pill to help weight loss. The balloon will then be inflated with water once in the stomach to help patients lose weight without invasive surgery.
Source: Imgur, The Guardian
The patient swallows the balloon in a pill form. It’s like any other pill, except it has a long, thin tube attached to it. Then, an ultrasound will be used to know whether the balloon-pill is in place. The balloon is then filled with water through the tube, which can then be detached and pulled out once it’s filled.
The balloon is only a temporary treatment, and lasts for around 16 weeks. After which it explodes and is digested by the body.
The results have shown that the 38 patients they had tested the balloon on had lost on average 15.2 kgs. That was around a third of their excess body weight. After that, the patients were put on a Mediterranean diet to help maintain the weight loss.
Experts on obesity have said that the balloon could be pretty useful in the National Health Service. But they also explain that it isn’t a substitute for bariatric surgery, which provides a lifetime change. “The technology in and of itself is interesting but you have really got to deal with people’s eating behaviour before you intervene,” explains Professor Jason Halford from the European Association for the Study of Obesity.
Source: YouTube, Science Nature
And while this handy tool isn’t as good as a surgery accompanied by physical therapy and psychological counselling, it does provide a great alternative. Especially for those who don’t want to or don’t suit invasive surgery. “I think this is for people before they would get to the point where they need bariatric surgery. Potentially millions could benefit … but these have got to get through clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and they do not have a lot of money,” Professor Halford adds.
Other researchers are skeptical. Dr Simon Cork says while he does agree that it might be useful for those who want to lose weight urgently, “sadly, the weight lost through this balloon will undoubtedly be put back on soon after the balloon is removed.”