Spire Leeds Hospital exclusively offers Obalon, a swallowable weight loss balloon

October 2014

Spire Leeds Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the UK to offer Obalon, a new weight loss treatment. The innovative treatment can be administered quickly and painlessly in as little as 30 minutes. Early results suggest that individuals can lose up to eight kilograms (one stone three pounds) in 12 weeks* and, with the support of the experts at Spire Leeds Hospital, work to achieve long term, sustainable weight loss.

Obalon is the first swallowable gastric balloon, which, once in the stomach is inflated to the size of an apple. The Obalon balloon works by making you feel fuller, faster, and by following a healthy balanced diet at the same time, the non-invasive 12 week treatment may offer a weight loss solution for those who have previously been unsuccessful in losing weight. It is available for those with a BMI of 27 or over.

It is administered by swallowing a capsule the size of a large vitamin pill during an out-patient appointment.  

Patients are monitored carefully throughout their treatment period. After the first capsule is swallowed it is left in the stomach for 30 days, after which a second balloon is swallowed if needed. After a total of 12 weeks all balloons are removed via an endoscopy which takes just a few minutes using light sedation if needed.

Carly Thompson, senior staff nurse at Spire Leeds Hospital was one of the first to undergo the new treatment at the hospital. Carly, 37, a mother of two, who lives in Leeds, had struggled with her weight since her pregnancy with her second child. She tried various diets and exercise however her weight ‘yo-yo’d’ and nothing provided a long term solution.

Carly before Obalon treatment Carly after Obalon treatment

“When I heard about this new procedure, I was interested to try it and had a consultation with Mr Abeezar Sarela, consultant bariatric surgeon at Spire, who provided me with all the information”, said Carly. “I didn’t hesitate with going ahead as portion size was an issue for me, and knew I could treat the three months it was in place as a chance to change the way I eat.”

Carly had the device fitted in May 2014. Her starting weight was 13st 7lbs (85 kg). When it was removed 11 weeks later she had lost 2st 6lbs (15.2kg). Her BMI was 33.3 at the start and dropped to 28 by the end of the treatment. “I’ve lost a further 7lbs (3kg) since having the device removed and plan to lose a further stone and 4lbs. I feel confident I will reach my goal, as I have definitely changed my whole attitude to food, eating healthier options and smaller portions. 

“My sessions with the dietician were also very helpful and helped me to realise the bad habits I had developed, I’ve also started excercising, something I’ve never really done before and am enjoying Zumba and classes at the gym,” she added.

Mr Sarela said, “Carly was at risk of developing health related problems. She was an ideal candidate for this treatment. She was very motivated and committed and she understood the negative health implications of obesity. She did well with it, making changes to her dietary pattern and sustaining those changes.

“While everybody loses weight at slightly different rates, most people find that two balloons give them the best result. Patients can have up to three balloons to give further restriction. Carly achieved excellent results using only one balloon. 

“Carly’s weight had increased over the years, she had tried diet and exercise and each time she lost weight she would regain the pounds and put on a little more. During the Obalon treatment, she lost about one-sixth of her starting weight, which is excellent if you compare it with a gastric bypass, where one year after having the procedure you might expect to lose about one-third of your starting weight.”

Mr Sarela added, “I am very excited about the potential Obalon can offer patients who do not qualify for weight loss surgery but are struggling to lose weight and improve their health independently. It’s a useful tool to aid weight loss, it was quick and easy for me to place and, although it’s early days, the results are looking good. It can give patients an initial weight loss boost and with the right support from Spire’s expert clinicians addressing healthy eating, exercise and psychological support, it can also help to change their eating behaviour - which is needed for long-term, weight loss." 

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Mr Abeezar Sarela
Mr Abeezar Sarela 

Mr Abeezar Sarela, consultant bariatric surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)