In the United States, more than two thirds of adults are considered overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as; heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. For these reasons and many more, doctors are always looking for new treatments for obese individuals. While a change in lifestyle and eating habits can go a long way, for some individuals, it can be necessary to take obesity treatment a step further.
One of the newest innovations is a gas-filled balloon known as the Obalon balloon. This gas filled balloon treatment begins with the patient swallowing a small capsule that contains a balloon. Once the patient swallows the balloon, the doctor then inflates the balloon with nitrogen-based gas through a catheter attached to the capsule. The inflation of the balloon will slightly increase the balloons size, but the goal is intended to help the patient feel fuller sooner. The balloon is not currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so the treatment is not yet available in the United States.
There is another balloon system on the market, that was approved by the FDA, but it is not as advanced as the Obalon. That system is the ReShape system and it requires a doctor to insert the balloon through the mouth using an endoscope. The ReShape is filled with liquid, not gas. Both balloon systems still need to be removed by a doctor through the mouth. Studies show that the Obalon system can help patients lose nearly twice as much weight as compared to healthy lifestyle changes alone.