The Elipse Balloon—made by Allurion—has the potential to help countries, like the U.S. and the U.K., that are battling an obesity epidemic. For the procedure to work, all patients need to do is swallow a pill that is attached to a tube. When the it reaches the stomach, the balloon is inflated and filled with a pint of water. The doctor detaches the tube, and that's the entire process. Under the supervision of proper authority, the entire thing takes only 15 minutes.
“It appears to be safe and effective," said Italian doctor Roberta Ienca, speaking to the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal. "It doesn’t require surgery or anesthesia. This may make it suitable for a larger population of patients not responding to diet and lifestyle treatment.”
The only condition potential users must meet? You can't live in either the U.S. or the U.K. because the product has not yet been approved there.
When the balloon is filled with water, it mimics the effect of gastric bypass by causing people to feel full while eating less. After four months, the balloon pops and passes painlessly our of the body.
Ienca and her team tested the Elipse Balloon on Italian subjects and found that they lost an average of 34 pounds in four months if they used the balloon in conjunction with healthy eating habits.
Unlike any bands, the Elipse Ballon doesn't require any kind of surgery—which is a bit of good news for those who get nervous in hospitals—and it's about half the price, ranging from $2,900 to $4,400.
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Even though the Elipse Balloon has not yet been approved in the states, doctors are optimistic about the balloon's applications.
“Potentially millions could benefit," said Professor Jason Halford from the University of Liverpool.
“A device which doesn’t require surgery is a positive step forward," echoed Dr. Simon Cork of Imperial College London.