Intragastric balloon as an adjunct to lifestyle programme in severely obese adolescents: impact on biomedical outcomes and skeletal health
Intragastric Balloons are a temporary, reversible and safer option compared to bariatric surgery to promote significant weight loss, leading to improved metabolic outcomes. However, due to subsequent weight regain, alternative procedures are now preferred in adults. In adolescents, more amenable to lifestyle change, balloons may be an alternative to less reversible procedures. Our aim was to assess the tolerability and efficacy of the intragastric balloon in severely obese adolescents and the impact of associated weight loss on biomedical outcomes (glucose metabolism, blood pressure, lipid profiles) and bone density. A 2-year cohort study of 12 adolescents (BMI > 3.5 s.d., Tanner stage > 4) following 6 months intragastric balloon placement was carried out. Subjects underwent anthropometry, oral glucose tolerance test, and DEXA scans at 0, 6 and 24 months. The results showed clinically relevant improvements in blood pressure, insulin: glucose metabolism, liver function and sleep apnoea at 6 months. Changes were not sustained at 2 years though some parameters (Diastolic BP, HBA1c, insulin AUC) demonstrated longer-term improvement despite weight regain. Despite weight loss, bone mass accrual showed age appropriate increases. In conclusion, the intragastric balloon was safe, well tolerated and effective in supporting short-term weight loss and clinically relevant improvement in obesity-related complications, which resolved in some individuals. Benefits were not sustained in the majority at 2 years.