Allurion Technologies has announced that the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is the first NHS trust in the UK - and the first non-private sector organisation in the world - to introduce the Allurion Gastric Balloon, the world's only swallowable gastric balloon that requires no surgery, no endoscopy and no anaesthesia.
Once swallowed, the balloon is filled and remains in the stomach for approximately four months, after which it self-empties and passes out naturally. It is proven to help patients lose an average of 10-15% of their body weight after approximately four months and studies show that on average, 96% of weight loss can be sustained one year after the balloon passes. To date, there have been more than 30 peer-reviewed studies conducted worldwide, demonstrating that the Allurion Balloon is a safe and effective way to lose weight.
The first two patients to receive the treatment were treated at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s Musgrove Park Hospital in November 2023, under the care of Professor Richard Welbourn, consultant bariatric surgeon at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. A further three NHS placements are due to take place in early February, with up to a dozen others also scheduled to have this potentially life changing procedure.
“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. People with severe obesity are prone to diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, which can be reversed with weight loss,” explained Welbourn. “The Allurion balloon is a 15-minute outpatient procedure, and is swallowed, so there’s 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 Program will lose 10-15% of their weight in four months, which improves quality of life and makes patients healthier.”
Somerset FT has provided the Allurion Program to two patients. It is suitable for patients who are most in need, especially those seeking rapid, safe and effective weight loss, enabling them to reach a safe and suitable weight to undergo lifesaving surgery.
The first ever NHS placement of the Allurion Balloon follows recent reports that obesity currently costs the NHS £100 billion a year, with this figure expected to grow by another £10 billion over the next 15 years. The Allurion Balloon - which can be placed in a 15-minute doctor’s visit - is expected to save the NHS significant time and money as the treatment is substantially less expensive than bariatric surgery. It is expected that the Allurion Balloon’s non-invasive approach also means patients can be in and out of hospital within the hour, freeing up much needed operation rooms, surgical teams and patient beds.
The swallowable balloon is just part of the Allurion Program experience. During the time the balloon is in the stomach, it provides a sense of fullness and satiety whilst the patient undertakes a wellness journey using Allurion’s proprietary behaviour change program that helps ensure the weight stays off, even when the balloon has gone. This wellness journey includes the use of an innovative suite of AI-powered software - so that progress is monitored and interventions are made as necessary to ensure optimum results - as well as 1-1 support from doctors and nutritionists to help patients modify their lifestyle and change their behaviour.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with the NHS for the first time to deliver the Allurion Program. According to the NHS, it is estimated that around one in four (25%) of adults in the UK have obesity, and without scalable, evidence-based weight solutions, I believe the obesity epidemic will continue to worsen,” said Dr Shantanu Gaur, founder and CEO of Allurion. “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. We are looking forward to expanding this partnership and benefiting many more NHS patients in the months and years to come."