Hyderabad is now home to the world’s first and only procedure-less swallowable gastric balloon. 

CDSCO approved weight loss measure, a balloon to help pop that weight

author_img Suchitra Behara Published :  14th September 2022 07:05 PM   |   Published :   |  14th September 2022 07:05 PM
Representative image

Representative image

In some great news for those who tried every weight loss trick in the book to fight obesity, Allurion, a company in Hyderabad dedicated to ending obesity, has launched a swallowable capsule. It is the only medical weight-loss device fully approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). 

Dr Shantanu Gaur, founder of Allurion, together with his partner and former Harvard professor Dr Ram Chuttani, developed the vision for the world’s first and only swallowable, procedures gastric balloon for weight loss. What this capsule does is, the founders claim, in approximately 16 weeks, people on the allurion programme lose an average of 10-15% total body weight, while 95% of the weight loss is maintained at 1 year. The placement involves a 15-minute outpatient visit that can be done in complete privacy.

Dr Venugopal Pareek, senior consultant bariatric surgeon at Care Hospital, Banjara Hills, offers deeper insight. He mentions that gastric balloons were first used in the 1980s which required an endoscope to place the balloon in the stomach—the whole procedure administered under anaesthesia. “However, ten-year research by medical experts succeeded in introducing the most advanced gastric balloon treatment called the elipse gastric balloon in the 2010s that doesn’t rely on endoscopy and anaesthesia to place the balloon in the stomach,” he shares. 

We know that the problem of not feeling satiated with small portions of meals is one of the main obstacles to weight loss. And so here’s the solution: “Gastric balloons are designed to make you feel fuller even with small meals. This is because the balloon occupies some space in the stomach that contributes to fullness more quickly. Moreover, it slows down the process of nutrient absorption, which aids in weight loss. An elipse or swallowable gastric balloon (allurion) is one of the advanced options to lose weight,” explains Dr Venugopal. 

Patients with a moderate to high body mass index (BMI) can use this gastric balloon procedure as an aesthetic lifestyle option. “The balloon system comprises an expandable silicone balloon (polyurethane in the case of allurion), a tube that places the balloon, and a filling device. This is an outpatient procedure that takes around 20-minutes. The patient needs to swallow a capsule that holds a deflated balloon inside along with a thin tube. The doctor confirms that the capsule is in place with the help of an X-ray,” he adds. 

Asked if there are any dietary restrictions, he says, “During the first week after balloon placement and before placement, there is a diet recommendation you should follow to adjust to the balloon. Following the balloon placement, it’s a good time to start changing your eating habits. When it comes to eating healthier, you don’t have to make massive changes all at once; instead, it’s better to make small changes in your diet over time.” 

“To be eligible for the programme, patients must have a BMI of at least 27. It is partially reimbursed by health insurance in India, making it an accessible solution for millions of people. To date, over 100,000 patients in more than 50 countries have been treated with the capsule. Allurion delivers weight loss, weight maintenance and type 2 diabetes remission. So whether it is because they have a wedding coming up, have steadily put on weight due to a busy or stressful lifestyle, recently had a health scare, need to improve their fertility, or need to lose weight before an operation, this can be the answer,” Dr Shantanu Gaur signs off.

Balloon benefits 

Doesn’t require endoscopy or anaesthesia for placement and removal
Total weight loss expected in this procedure is around 10-14kg
Useful for acute weight loss in 4 months and to manage uncontrollable diabetes, without any bariatric procedure
After 4 months, the balloon has an interval stitch which disintegrates automatically and releases the water 
— Dr Kona Lakshmi Kumari, consultant surgical gastroenterologist, minimal access GI surgeon, metabolic & bariatric surgeon at Yashoda Hospitals