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In a small study in France, Bertrand Napoleon, MD, placed an Inimed Health balloon inside the stomachs of 15 obese patients, filled the balloon with water, and successfully achieved weight loss. A month after the procedure, the average body mass index (BMI) of these patients had decreased from 34.28 to 32.34; at 6 months, the average BMI was 30.86.
The use of stomach balloons has been around since the late 1980s, but earlier devices deflated after insertion, and some resulted in intestinal obstruction and the need for further surgery. These intragastric balloons have not been approved for use in the United States, and critics of the procedure point out that significantly less weight is lost with this procedure than with gastric bypass.