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Good news for obese people – Swallowable balloons may combat condition sans surgery

Intragastric balloons (IGBs) have been used as weight loss devices for decades. Inflated with water, these devices make it easier to adhere to a low calorie diet by inducing feelings of fullness.

Good news for obese people – Swallowable balloons may combat condition sans surgery
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New Delhi: There's a good news for people with obesity as new study has assured that obese people can use swallowable balloons for combating the condition.

Intragastric balloons (IGBs) have been used as weight loss devices for decades. Inflated with water, these devices make it easier to adhere to a low calorie diet by inducing feelings of fullness.

However, all IGBs have historically required endoscopy and anaesthesia resulting in a low adoption rate and high cost.

The new study, presented today at European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Portugal, evaluated the efficacy and safety of a new swallowable IGB which does not need endoscopy or anaesthesia.

These IGBs are optimised to reduce risk and discomfort in combination with a very low calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) in the final month of therapy. A VLCKD diet comprises of low calories and less carbohydrates.

"The Elipse Balloon appears to be a safe and effective weight loss method. Furthermore, the introduction of a VLCKD improves weight loss," said Roberta Ienca from Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.

The study involved 50 obese individuals who had failed to lose weight by diet alone and refused other IGB treatment, because of the need of an endoscopy and/or anaesthesia, and were offered the Elipse Balloon.

The balloon was swallowed under fluoroscopy, an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the interior of an object, and then filled with 550 millilitres (mL) of liquid.

The balloon remains in the stomach for 16 weeks after which it spontaneously opens, empties, and is excreted. Follow-up was performed every two weeks.

(With PTI inputs)

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