Obalon, a new gastric weight loss balloon has been launched in the UK and it is now available to the public. Obalon comes in a pill that can be swallowed. It replaces the need for invasive gastric balloon surgery.
A deflated balloon contained in the capsule is swallowed by the patient. The capsule is attached to a micro catheter. When the capsule reaches the stomach, the balloon is inflated with a gas to the size of an apple. The capsule itself dissolves and the catheter is removed through the mouth.
The Obalon treatment is painless as no invasive surgery is required. The whole procedure only takes about 10 minutes. The video below shows how it is done.
How Obalon Weight Loss Treatment Works – Video
The balloon takes up space in the stomach. Less space in the stomach gives the patient an illusion of being full. As a result the patient eats less, hence the weight loss.
The balloon remains in the stomach for 30 days, after which it is non-surgically removed. The patients then receive a second balloon. Depending on their weight loss and adjustment to the treatment, the patient may receive a third balloon after 60 days.
This Obalon treatment for weight loss is a short term solution for people who are obese and who are unable to lose weight on their own with conventional methods or diets.
Clinical trials, both in the US and in the UK showed that on the average patients lose about 7.7kg (almost 17 pounds) during the treatment.
Obalon Weight Loss Treatment – A Patient’s Experience
A patient, Helen Fleckley, from UK shares her experience with Obalon in a video below.
Obalon is not a permanent solution to weight loss but it gives patients and initial weight loss boost. The reports suggest that this treatment also “helps to change their eating behaviour”.
I am curious though what happens after the final balloon is removed from the patient’s stomach. Now, instead of a balloon there will be an empty space in the stomach that likely the body and the brain will want to fill. Does that mean that the patient eventually reverts to eating more and regain the weight she lost?
It will be interesting to see the long-term results. I see this treatment as only a band aid solution and as such I cannot see lasting and permanent weight loss in these patients.