Swallow a balloon to lose weight
A swallowable balloon which makes people feel full can lead to dramatic weight loss in just four months, research suggests.
Obese people lost an average of 2st 6lb over 16 weeks, a study found, with experts suggesting the technique could be used as an alternative to drastic weight-loss surgery.
The Elipse Balloon is contained inside a capsule which is swallowed with a drink of water. The capsule is attached to a hollow plastic tube.
A doctor uses imaging to check the balloon is correctly in place before filling it up, via the tube, with almost a pint of water.
The tube is then detached and removed.
After 16 weeks, a valve disintegrates and the device is excreted safely by the body.
In the new study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal, the balloon was given to 42 obese people (29 men and 13 women).
They were typically aged 46, had a body mass index of 39 and weighed just over 17st on average.
After 16 weeks, typical weight loss per person was 2st 6lb and people lost more than 14pc of their total body weight.
The balloon, which costs around €4,000, is available in several countries around the world.
"The reaction of patients is incredible. They are very happy about the results they were able to achieve," said Dr Roberta Ienca, from the University of Rome, who led the study.
Work was also carried out with patients on changing their eating habits long-term, she said.