One means of attacking obesity is to diminish a person s capacity for food consumption. Thus, we ve seen various types of bariatric surgery that decrease the size of the stomach, and may also change the arrangement of the intestinal tract. Depending on the exact type of surgery, these procedures are variously effective, and may also result in remission of type 2 diabetes, as we explained here. However, these are indeed surgical procedures, and not everyone wishes to undergo them. Now an old means of diminishing food intake by decreasing available stomach size has been updated. And the FDA has just approved its use.
This new device is a double balloon that is inserted into a patient s stomach through the mouth. It can then be inflated with a saline solution and thus effectively decrease the volume of the stomach that can be filled with food, and will trigger feelings of fullness. In a clinical trial cited by the FDA, 187 obese patients (BMI of 30-40) received the new device for 6 months. The lost nearly 7 percent of their body weight, while a control group lost only about 3 percent of their weight.
Currently use of this device is limited to those with a BMI between 30 and 40 who have at least one obesity-related health condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. And patients are also advised to adhere to medically approved diet and exercise regimes. Like most other obesity treatments, this one can have side effects, which may include including headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or feelings of indigestion.
Obesity treatment is definitely not one size fits all commented American Council on Science and Health Senior Nutrition Fellow Dr. Ruth Kava. This easily reversible, non-surgical treatment might well be an early method to address the problem of intractable obesity; more information will be needed to determine the best candidates for the balloon device.