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HEALTH: Latest weight loss phenomenon
Now the latest weight loss phenomenon.
It's a pill that can help you lose 20 pounds in a few months -- with no surgery.
But it's *not FDA approved in the US
But it has Americans crossing the border to get it.
Science fiction this is not.
Inside that tiny capsule what's called the world's first swallowable weight loss balloon. Yes, you swallow- a balloon
Here's how the company says it works:
The vitamin-sized pill is attached to a thin tube. Down the hatch it goes, chased by a glass of water.
With an x-ray, a doctor locates the capsule, then uses the tube to inflate it with gas. The tube gets pulled out and voila, there's a balloon floating in your stomach.
They say Dr I was hungry and I'm not hungry any more"
Doctors insert up to three balloons for up to four months at a time until they're removed, with the patient sedated.
The goal: Feel fuller faster and eat less..the pill's maker claims the balloons helped shave off more than 20 pounds
The catch- while the Obalon Balloon awaits FDA approval, for now, this procedure is only available in Europe and Mexico
And just over San Diego's border is where Dr Arial Ortiz has *performed* more than one hundred of them.
The candidates are overweight or obese, ESPY the overweigh category: 30,40, 50 lbs
Obalon's maker told ABC News while "all medical devices and drugs have some risks". The balloons are "designed and extensively tested" to not prematurely deflate or rupture.
Experts say that could include damage to the intestines and stomach
"It's not a magic bullet, not a permanent fix. It's meant to be temporary."
But this little tool comes with a massive price tag:
An average of 4,000 a pop.
Patients reported eating a striking 70-80 percent less food with the balloons!