How the Elipse™ balloon provides an alternative weight-loss solution

Written by: Mr Michael Van den Bossche
Edited by: Bronwen Griffiths

Obesity is considered to be an epidemic in the UK with an estimated 1 in 4 adults affected. After smoking, obesity is the greatest leading cause of early death. Many patients require medical assistance to lose their weight and whilst obesity surgery can be very successful, it comes with the risks of surgery, as well as a recovery time to handle. However, the Elipse balloon for weight loss presents patients with a novel alternative – weight loss without the need for surgery or extreme dieting. Mr Michael Van den Bossche, a leading surgeon with expertise in weight loss, now runs a monthly session at his practice for the Elipse balloon.

How does the Elipse balloon for weight loss work?

The Elipse balloon weighs approximately 500 grams and sits in the stomach when it is filled with liquid. The balloon deflates spontaneously after four months and the empty lightweight membrane is then excreted the normal way (bowels).

The special thing about the Elipse balloon is that the procedure does not require anaesthetic, endoscopy or sedation. The patient swallows a pill that contains the balloon and once the position of the pills is confirmed to be in the stomach, the balloon is filled with a special liquid. We use an X-ray to make sure that the balloon is in the right place.

The balloon is designed to create a feeling of fullness, allowing patients to eat smaller portions, but without having to endure the feelings of hunger that usually accompany diets. The balloon also works to keep the food eaten in the stomach for longer, reducing the need for snacking. These effects ultimately help patients to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Who is eligible for the Elipse weight loss balloon?

The balloon is suitable for patients who are overweight with a BMI over 27. There are certain conditions when the Elipse balloon cannot be used, for example, people who have had previous major abdominal surgery with scar tissue around the bowel or those with swallowing difficulties are not eligible for having the Elipse balloon.

How long do you have the Elipse balloon implanted?

The Elipse balloon is placed for four months, after which it naturally deflates and is passed naturally in a bowel movement. This means that no trip to the doctors is required for its removal. When the balloon has gone, your body should have become accustomed to the new, healthier relationship with food and portion sizes.

How much weight can a patient expect to lose?

Patients can lose up to 2 to 3 stone (approximately 12-19 kilograms or 40 pounds). It is important that they also change their lifestyle and eating habits, making better food choices and committing themselves to exercising more regularly. Patients have to download an app on their phone to track their progress. They also get a set of smart scales that can communicate with the app.


If you are interested in the Elipse balloon, or obesity surgery options, make an appointment with an expert to discuss your eligibility and options.

By Mr Michael Van den Bossche

Mr Michael Van den Bossche is a renowned consultant general surgeon, specialising in all kinds of bariatric surgery. From his private clinic at the Spire Southampton Hospital, he provides surgical weight loss surgery, along with hernia surgery, gallbladder surgery, surgery to correct gastric reflux, and a variety of laparoscopic surgical procedures. 

Mr Michael Van den Bossche originally trained in Leuven, Belgium under Dr Jacques Himpens, a pioneer in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. He first worked and gained experience in Brussels, Belgium before moving to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, where he developed the laparoscopic surgery service on the island, going on to establish the island as one of the centres of excellence for laparoscopic surgery.

In 2007, Mr Van den Bossche became the first surgeon to introduce the banded gastric bypass to the UK, and in 2010, he was the first to adopt the mini gastric bypass, or one anastomosis gastric bypass, an operation resulting in better resolution of medical problems, such as type 2 diabetes, and improved weight loss compared to other gastric bypass methods or restricted weight loss operations. For gastric bypass operations, Mr Van den Bossche makes use of the GaBP ring or Fobi ring, making the operation stronger and minimising the risk of weight regain in the future. He also offers the Elipse gastric balloon to those patients who do not qualify for weight loss surgery, while dieting alone is not working for them. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and does not involve endoscopy, surgery, or anaesthesia. 

Mr Van den Bossche devotes time to training and mentoring fellow surgeons in the UK, and has performed live surgical procedures around the world, in addition to being a trainer for the mini gastric bypass operation. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in medical journals, and lectured extensively at international medical conferences. 

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