Weight loss balloon ‘pill’

Have you heard about swallowable gastric balloon/ weight loss balloon “pill”?

Intragastric balloons are not new. They have been used since 1985 to treat obesity, helping patients feeling more full and eat less. Original models were rapidly abandoned because they were ineffective and potentially harmful.

Nowadays, different kinds of intragastric balloons are available which are safe, effective, and very well accepted by patients. A New Swallowable Intragastric Balloon Not Needing Endoscopy: the Elipse™Balloon is the first balloon that does not require an upper endoscopy or sedation  for both placement and removal. It is an option to overweight and obese patients who feel uncomfortable with endoscopy and anesthesia.

The procedure:

The balloon is enclosed in a small capsule attached to a thin catheter about 75 cm long and 1.3 mm in diameter. The capsule is easily swollen with a glass of water. The balloon contains a small radiopaque ring that can be used to confirm its correct position inside the stomach through an abdominal x-ray. Finally, the balloon is filled with 550 mL of liquid consisting of distilled water with potassium sorbate preservative, and then the catheter is re-moved. This device is designed to spontaneously empty through a release valve after approximately 16 weeks of treatment and leaves the body via defecation.


Current study shows that all patients lost weight during the treatment. Moreover, the treatment led to significant decrease in the factors related to clinical diagnosis of metabolic syndrome:

blood pressure, waist circumference (high waist circumference is associated with for example an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension), triglycerides (the major form of fat stored by the body), blood glucose, and HOMA-IR index (a method used to quantify insulin resistance and beta-cell function).



Dumonceau, J.-M. (2008). Evidence-based Review of the Bioenterics Intragastric Balloon for Weight Loss. Obesity Surgery, 18(12), 1611-1617. doi:10.1007/s11695-008-9593-9

Genco, A., Ernesti, I., Ienca, R., Casella, G., Mariani, S., Francomano, D., . . . Monti, M. (2018). Safety and Efficacy of a New Swallowable Intragastric Balloon Not Needing Endoscopy: Early Italian Experience. Obesity Surgery, 28(2), 405-409. doi:10.1007/s11695-017-2877-1

Imaz, I., Martínez-Cervell, C., García-Álvarez, E. E., Sendra-Gutiérrez, J. M., & González-Enríquez, J. (2008). Safety and Effectiveness of the Intragastric Balloon for Obesity. A Meta-Analysis. Obesity Surgery, 18(7), 841-846. doi:10.1007/s11695-007-9331-8


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