Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield hospital plans teenager gastric balloon trial

Overweight teenagers in South Yorkshire could be fitted with gastric balloons, if a trial is approved.

Sheffield Children's Hospital said it wanted to use the balloons to help 10 morbidly obese 13 to 18-year-olds lose weight.

Those weighing between 14 and 20 stone (89kg-127kg) will be considered.

Dr Neil Wright from the hospital said the procedure was "intended as an option for young people where other treatments have not been successful".

The hospital said the procedure had been found to be effective for adults but very few studies had been carried out on young people.

The gastric balloon discourages overeating by inflating in the stomach to give the feeling of being full.

Dr Wright, a consultant paediatrician and obesity specialist, said: "The gastric balloon is a treatment normally for adults and which, as far as we know, has never been trialled with teenagers in the UK.

"We see it as a possible alternative to gastric surgery for young people with severe weight problems.

"If the trial is approved the team will be working with youngsters over a two-year period to see if the balloons will kick-start weight loss and, with the help of the behavioural support programme, keep the weight off in the long term.

"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."

Lisa Beardsmore, from Rotherham, whose son is overweight said: "I don't think surgeons should be offering children at this age such drastic measures. Who is to say that your child won't change themselves?

"The correct way is for children to eat three balanced meals a day."

If the proposal is given the go-ahead by the hospital's ethics committee, the trial would last for two years.

Patients would be recruited through hospital consultants, GPs and patients requesting referrals.

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