Could implanted balloons help you lose weight?

Kristin Thorne Image
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Could implanted balloons help you lose weight?
Kristin Thorne has details on a new weight-loss device being tested on Long Island.

STONY BROOK (WABC) -- Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows it can be tough and frustrating, so imagine being able to drop 30 pounds or more -- without surgery -- just by swallowing a pill?

That's the idea behind a new device being tested on Long Island.

Melissa Rodriguez is on a mission to become healthy again, after she gained 65 pounds during her recent pregnancy and has struggled to lose it.

"It just was not coming off," she said. "I was like, oh my gosh, is this going to be my norm. Is this what my body is going to stay at?"

She decided to participate in a free study of a new device that involves swallowing a pill the size of a quarter that later inflates in the stomach.

"It doesn't hurt, it's just a really uncomfortable, odd feeling," she said. "It sounds funny, but it kind of feels like being pregnant."

Rodriguez had three balloons put in over a 12-week period, with the goal of making the patient to feel full most of the time.

"I would only eat or even drink a certain amount," she said. "And I was like, OK."

Dr. Aurora Pryor did the procedure at Stony Brook University Hospital and says the balloons are for people like Rodriguez who are trying to lose 30 to 50 pounds.

At the same time, patients undergo a rigorous dietary program with nutritionists.

"It's going to help teach you about a good lifestyle, good, healthy choices of food," Dr. Pryor said. "Aall that while you're going through the balloon. And when the balloon comes out, though, it's up to you to maintain that. So that's where the education is important."

The balloons are removed after six months, and for Rodriguez, that happened in April. She lost 27 pounds.

"It was 27 pounds honestly I wouldn't have been able to lose on my own," she said.

The FDA is expected to approve the technology in the next few months.