Somerset NHS Foundation Trust in the UK has treated the first patients with the Allurion gastric balloon for pre-surgical weight loss.

The non-surgical, swallowable balloon aids in pre-surgical weight loss and remains in the stomach for around four months, facilitating an average weight loss of 10–15% of body weight.

It is designed to be swallowed and then filled, remaining in the stomach for approximately four months.

The balloon is intended to help patients achieve significant weight loss without the need for surgery, endoscopy or anaesthesia.

After the treatment period, the balloon self-empties and is naturally expelled.

The first two patients received the Allurion Programme at Musgrove Park Hospital from Somerset NHS Foundation Trust consultant bariatric surgeon Richard Welbourn.

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In February 2024, an additional three placements will take place, with more scheduled throughout the year.

Welbourn said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer this new treatment, a first for the NHS, that offers clinically meaningful weight loss as part of a holistic programme involving dietary support and care.

“The Allurion balloon is a 15-minute outpatient procedure, and is swallowed, so there is no need for an endoscopy, hospital bed, theatre time or anaesthetic, which is better for the NHS and a much-improved experience for our patients.

“We expect that patients using the programme will lose 10–15% of their weight in four months, which improves quality of life and makes patients healthier.”

The Allurion Program is targeted at patients requiring rapid and safe weight loss to qualify for essential surgery.

It includes a comprehensive behaviour change programme supported by artificial intelligence-powered software and professional guidance from doctors and nutritionists.

Allurion founder and CEO Dr Shantanu Gaur said: “Leveraging the Allurion Balloon – which can be swallowed in a simple outpatient visit and typically does not require any procedures for removal – the NHS now has a weight loss solution that does not tap into surgical or endoscopic resources that are already overbooked and constrained.”