Incredible before-and-after pictures show the transformation of a woman who lost almost three stone by swallowing a deflated balloon.
Charley Payne, from Milton Keynes, tried ‘every diet under the sun’ before she paid £4,300 privately for the 15-minute treatment last January.
At the time, the now 26-year-old weighed 13 stone 12lbs (88kg) and had a BMI of 36, classing her as obese.
But just a year later, Ms Payne is now only considered overweight at 11st (70kg) and she plans to lose even more weight.
It is not without its side effects however. Grimly, it left her suffering ‘the odd eggy burp’ and forced her sleep on her right side to stop her from feeling the balloon sat in her stomach. Ms Payne also revealed that the initial procedure made her ‘gag’.
Just a year after paying more than £4,000 for the procedure privately, Charley Payne is now (pictured) only considered overweight. It is not without its side effects however. Grimly, it left her suffering ‘the odd eggy burp’ and forced her sleep on her right side to stop her from feeling the balloon sat in her stomach
Ms Payne (pictured), from Milton Keynes, had the 15-minute treatment — now available on the NHS — which involves swallowing a pill containing an uninflated balloon, in January 2023. At the time, the now 26-year-old weighed 13 stone (88kg) and had a BMI of 36, classing her as obese
Your browser does not support iframes.
Her astonishing results come as it emerged today that patients are now getting the balloon treatment on the NHS, as part of a limited launch. The Allurion balloon has been available privately since 2018.
The idea is that the balloon – which sits inside a 3cm-long and 2cm-wide capsule – makes it impossible to eat much, as your stomach feels permanently full.
Attached to the capsule wannabe slimmers must swallow is a thin tube.
Once doctors have checked that the balloon is sat correctly in the stomach through an X-ray, they pump 550ml of saline through the tube to fill the balloon.
When the balloon is full, the connection valve automatically seals itself and the tube is removed.
It stays in place for four months. After that, the small round valve which self-sealed dissolves and the balloon empties.
The body naturally passes both through the gastrointestinal tract.
Ms Payne, who works in recruitment, told MailOnline: ‘I’d been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember – and as far as my weight was concerned I felt as if I was at a dead end.
‘I’d lost all my confidence, my joints hurt, I didn’t want to go to the gym, I was stuck in a vicious circle. I would feel bad about myself and comfort eat and gain more weight.
‘Seeing the advert for the balloon was like a Eureka moment. I went for a consultation and it was agreed I was a suitable candidate.
‘It was a lot of money – I had to raid all my savings, but I had given up on the idea of anything else working.’
The swallowable balloon is available in private clinics to those with a BMI over 27 — like Ms Payne.
Although it’s not suitable for patients who’ve previously had gastric surgery.
Ms Payne said: ‘The capsule containing the balloon is about the size of a piece of food you might put in your mouth but when you have it in your hand it does look a bit daunting.
‘I didn’t have any problems swallowing it and within a minute it was there. The worst part was when they pulled the tube out, which made me gag a bit.
Ms Payne (pictured before the treatment) said: ‘The capsule containing the balloon is about the size of a piece of food you might put in your mouth but when you have it in your hand it does look a bit daunting. I didn’t have any problems swallowing it and within a minute it was there. The worst part was when they pulled the tube out, which made me gag a bit’
And despite fears over what would happen when the balloon deflated, Ms Payne admitted she ‘ didn’t even notice it go’. The treatment, which cost £4,300, ‘has brought a complete lifestyle change’, she said. Pictured, Ms Payne after undergoing the treatment
Under the treatment, patients simply swallow the 3cm-long and 2cm-wide capsule which contains a collapsed balloon. Attached to that is a thin tube, which doctors feed 550ml saline through to fill the balloon
‘I started to feel a bit ropey on the way home — about an hour of having it in place — I felt really full and a bit nauseous. Having it done towards the end of the day was a good move as I just went to bed and slept through the worst of it.’
She added: ‘After that each day I felt a little better. I spent the first two days just on fluids, and then two days on softer foods such as soup or porridge and then on day five I was back on solid food.
‘I found it crazy how quickly I felt full when I was eating. I didn’t change my diet as I didn’t eat unhealthily – I just ate less – a lot less.
‘I had to swap from a normal sized plate to a smaller one to remind myself not to put too much food on.’
After just a month Ms Payne had lost 5.5kg (8lbs). The ‘only downside’, however, was experiencing ‘the odd eggy burp’.
She added: ‘I had to sleep on my right side not my left as I could otherwise feel the balloon.’
And despite fears over what would happen when the balloon deflated, she admitted she ‘didn’t even notice it go’.
The treatment ‘has brought a complete lifestyle change’, Ms Payne said.
‘I’ve had the most active year of my life. I am at the gym a few times a week, I run and I do a weekly gymnastics class.
‘Not only that but I’m having to buy a whole new wardrobe. I can now fit in to size ten leggings whereas before I could get into a size 16 but I would buy a size 18-20 for comfort.
‘My goal is to get to 65kg (10st 2lbs) and the last few pounds are the hardest to shift, but I can’t see myself going back to the way I was.’
Under NICE guidance, the gastric balloon capsule is intended only for those ‘who need to lose weight in the short term for medical reasons’.
To date, evidence on its efficacy is still ‘inadequate in quantity and quality’.
It is being treated by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust as a research project as a pre-intervention to prepare people for gastric bypass surgery.
There are currently no plans for a wider NHS roll-out, officials said today.
Trials have shown the treatment to be particularly effective in patients with a higher body mass index (BMI).
Patients with a starting BMI of 35-40 lose on average 15 per cent of their body weight after four months, while those with a starting BMI of over 40 can lose on average up to 20 per cent of their body weight after six months.
Patients also kept 95 per cent of their weight off for a year after treatment.
A nutrition and lifestyle programme is provided by Allurion to help keep people on track.
To date around 130,000 people worldwide have been treated privately with the procedure.