Plans are underway in Sheffield to discuss a trial for a gastric balloon procedure for obese children. The trial is thought to be the first of its kind in children, previously being used for the treatment of obesity in adults. Obesity experts at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital are now considering whether the treatment could help control over eating, rather than opting for gastric band surgery.
The procedure would be trialled on ten teenagers, aged 13 and above. Whilst under general anaesthetic, a balloon is introduced to the stomach through the throat, and then filled with salt water. The balloon restricts room in the stomach, which should make a person feel fuller for longer, thus reducing the amount of food eaten. After six months, during which the teenagers will be taught healthy eating and exercise plans, the balloon will be removed. The children will be reviewed periodically at six monthly intervals.
If approval for the trial is given by the hospital’s ethics committee, the children who are selected for the procedure will be classed as morbidly obese, and aged 13 and above. The weight range for a teenager aged between 13 and 16 years old is between seven and 10 stone. The teenagers who are selected for the trial will weigh between 14 and 20 stone, with previous treatments not being successful. Full support and medical checks will also be carried out, including checks for diabetes, bone strength, diabetes and depression, which are linked to obese children. The team will provide support to change their lifestyle, with healthy eating and exercise.
Obesity specialist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Dr Neil Wright said:
This is not a quick fix as the lifestyle advice and support is very important in helping young people to lose weight and giving them the information they need in the future to manage a healthy lifestyle.