Read Original Story

Stomach Balloons Used to Fight Weight Gain


3 Star

Stomach Balloons Used to Fight Weight Gain

Our Review Summary

This is a story about “A balloon inserted into (the) stomach in a procedure that lasts less than 20 minutes. European doctors hail the technique as a simple, less invasive way to fight obesity.” It’s another surgical intervention that may aid with weight loss. The potential harms, benefits and costs of the treatment are not adequately presented. The story did not provide the source of the clinical evidence for claims about maintaining weight loss with the balloon procedure.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No estimate of costs


Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

No real estimate of benefit given other than the results of a few cases.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Harms of treatment only

provided as an anecdote from one patient without estimates of prevelance. Weight re-gain is clearly mentioned.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Source of the clinical evidence for the maintenance of weight loss with the balloon was not provided;

it would appear to be derived from the doctors’ own patients, though the nature of their follow-up is not provided.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

Mention of 25% reduced life expectancy from obesity, without

mention that this figure derives from those individuals with morbid obesity with co-morbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnea

and coronary artery disease.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


Followed the Italian source’s interview with input from a U.S. surgeon who is interested and experienced in

weight loss surgery.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Brief mention is made of patient

attempts to lose weight without success prior to use of the balloon. Only the briefest mention of other obesity surgical

techniques. No mention made of weight loss medications.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


Mentions that gastric balloons have not been approved by the FDA.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


Mentions that gastric

balloon is a relatively new approach to treating obesity; one surgeon in Italy interviewed has been using it for six


Total Score: 5 of 10 Satisfactory


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