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New weight loss technique that doesn't require surgery is cutting edge

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Doctors are betting on 'gastric' balloons to help people lose weight

Swallowing a medical balloon device is now being encouraged for people in Britain battling weight problems.

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According to the Daily Mail, a device known medically as a gastric balloon is designed to help people who have trouble losing weight through traditional diets. The best part? It doesn't require surgery to insert it. Instead, a patient swallows a capsule with the tiny Elipse balloon made of a polymer film. At the end is a catheter which, once swallowed, allows a doctor to fill it with water. Then the catheter is pulled out.

The balloon takes up a large portion of the stomach, making it impossible for a person with one to eat a lot of food. It's not permanent though: The polymer film opens and the balloon deflates, then is passed through the intestines like other food. Warning: Do not try this with regular balloons.

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The device — which was also recently approved for use in Europe — will ideally help people shed some pounds, but since it deflates people who use it will either have to stick with a sensible nutrition plan or risk gaining the weight back.

"Balloons definitely help some people to lose weight over a short period. But they cannot have any long-term effect," Professor Mike Lean, an expert in human nutrition at Glasgow University, told the Daily Mail. "Once they are removed, or passed out as waste, they have no further effect, so weight goes back on unless the patient has a long-term weight-maintenance strategy."

More: If you're 'fat but fit' you may not be as healthy as you think you are

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