January 28, 2014

Weight Loss Pill Goes Over Like a Lead Balloon

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lead-balloonA new method for weight loss is being investigated in England. The pill-like contraption is swallowed, then it is surgically inflated and resides in the patient until desired weight loss is achieved. The weight loss device is called the Obalon balloon

Gastric bypass, adjustable gastric bands, gastric sleeves, and now an inflatable pill? Weight loss is a billion dollar business so why not take a pill to bloat your weight loss?

The pill is a capsule containing an a balloon. After swallowing the pill, surgeons inflate the balloon inside to make them feel full and eat less. The device is not permanent. After 3 months, it needs to be removed.

The pill capsule is attached to a tube. Once the capsule hits the stomach, the balloon gets released. A doctor can use an X-ray to find where the balloon is and inflate it with gas through the tube. After, the doctor pulls the tube out through the patient’s mouth, leaving the balloon floating in the stomach.

Ideally, the balloon will act to educate the person about portion size and retrain their brain. In theory, it sounds good. At the end of season, how are things looking for people who’ve had it done?

The device’s makers claim overweight and obese patients can lose up to 20 pounds in three months. FYI, it’s not available in the United States but if you decide to look further into the possibility of the Obalon balloon, it may cost more than $3,300 if you go to the U.K.

Another thing to think about is that one balloon may not be enough. If you need a 2-balloon procedure, it may cost upwards of $5,000 plus the expenses to travel to the U.K. At the end of the day, a balloon is removed and the mindset is not retrained, you may be back where you started if the behavioral changes have not set-in.

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