There is a new approach to kickstarting weight loss that does not involve surgery, extensive pain, or anaesthesia. It is not a new fad diet that leaves you hungry or attains results that are soon lost. It does not involve staying hungry, either.
When dieting is not enough, or the weight needs to be lost relatively fast for health reasons, weight loss needs to be approached holistically. That is why the new revolutionary Allurion Gastric Balloon takes up space in your stomach to give you the feeling of fullness while you re-educate and re-calibrate your habits and body responses.
The honeymoon from hunger
The process of reducing weight is challenging because the biology of hunger is complex. Despite the best intentions, we often find ourselves eating more than we need to. Even when we know that excessive weight may be jeopardising our health, stamina, and energy levels, these are tough changes to make.
Biological systems regulate appetite and hunger via messages from the brain. This is also true for messages that reduce hunger or produce the feeling of fullness. Other hormones produced in body fat and the pancreas also contribute to these messages. A message, via these hormones, that originates in an organ can impact another organ or the brain. These affect each other continuously to set our feelings of hunger or satiation.
The Allurion Gastric Balloon has been designed on this premise, where the stomach’s fullness is able to indicate to the brain that enough food has been ingested.
How does it work?
The Allurion Gastric Balloon is packaged into a capsule that is attached to a thin catheter for easy placement by a surgeon during a 20-minute procedure. The capsule is swallowed with the help of a medical professional and an x-ray is taken to ensure that placement is correct.
Once in the stomach, the capsule, which is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, degrades. It is then filled with 550ml of isotonic fluid, which amounts to roughly the size of a grapefruit.
At this point, a second x-ray is taken by the healthcare professional to ensure that the balloon has filled completely and that it has remained in place during the filling process. The surgeon will then remove the catheter through the mouth. The placement is then complete, and the patient is set up with a mobile app, health tracker, and digital scales.
The patient returns home to start his or her weight loss journey which will include professional guidance with a lifestyle programme specifically designed by a registered dietitian throughout the 4months that follow. Most people return to normal activity within a day or two, with a small percentage experiencing some discomfort for a bit longer.
While in the stomach, the Allurion Gastric Balloon creates a feeling of fullness and delays gastric emptying, reducing the portions of food needed. This may also reduce cravings and snacking as the patient will feel satisfied with less.
After approximately 16 weeks, the release valve on the balloon release and the liquid empties into the stomach. The balloon passes out naturally in the toilet, with about 45% of people not even noticing this passing.
Is this another quick fix?
The result of using Allurion Gastric Balloon is an average 10-15% weight loss when accompanied by a diet and exercise regime. It is a game changer because it reduces hunger without the need for surgery, or permanent and drastic procedures. During the time the Allurion Gastric Balloon is in the stomach, the patient’s appetite will adjust. Together with the nutritional support programme, the change will kickstart lifetime changes. The relationship with food is thus reset and the patient no longer feels controlled by their appetite.
Studies have shown that up to 95% of average weight loss can be sustained one year after the balloon is eliminated naturally by the body.
This procedure is recommended for those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27 and over who have not succeeded in losing weight without intervention, or who need to lose weight faster for health reasons.
The most important factor of this procedure is that it allows you to develop a different relationship to food with both physical and habitual support, so that you are more likely to reach your goal with less suffering.
The Biology of Hunger. (2018, February 1). Clinical Encounters: Obesity. https://obesity.clinicalencounters.com/blog/the-biology-of-hunger/
Genco, A., Ernesti, I., Ienca, R., Casella, G., Mariani, S., Francomano, D., Soricelli, E., Lorenzo, M., & Monti, M. (2018). Safety and Efficacy of a New Swallowable Intragastric Balloon Not Needing Endoscopy: Early Italian Experience. Obesity Surgery, 28(2), 405–409. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-017-2877-1