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expert reaction to conference poster about a swallowable gastric balloon for weight loss

Presenting at the European Congress on Obesity scientists introduce study using swallowable intragastric balloon for weight loss.


Dr Simon Cork, Research Fellow at the Department of Investigative Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

“This is an interesting study with interesting outcomes for clinical practice.  It is a small study (only 38 people), however in terms of proof of concept this is acceptable.  It is also noteworthy that weight loss begins to slow down as the trial goes on (until the introduction of a low calorie diet).  This is not surprising, but shows that in itself, gastric balloons are not long term solutions for weight loss.

“Currently gastric balloons have to be inserted under general anaesthetic or sedation.  This not only limits the number of patients who can have them implanted, but also increases surgery time and has significant costs associated with it.  Gastric balloons are useful for losing weight, but only in the short term.  This balloon is only inflated for 16 weeks, after which it is removed from the body.  Surgically implanted gastric balloons are also only used short term, and generally for patients who need to lose weight quickly in order to undergo further surgery.  Sadly, the weight lost through this balloon will undoubtedly be put back on soon after the balloon is removed.

“Nevertheless, gastric balloons are still useful for some patients, and the introduction of a device which doesn’t require surgery to implant is a positive step forward.”


* Poster title = ‘A new swallowable intragastric balloon for weight loss not needing endoscopy: early experience in combination with a VLCKD endoscopy’ by Roberta Ienca et al was presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal. There is no paper.


Declared interests

Dr Simon Cork: “I declare no conflicts of interest.”

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