Procedureless Intragastric Balloon May Cut Costs and Weight
Using a procedureless intragastric balloon (PIGB) as a first-line treatment for obesity is cost effective as either a standalone intervention or a bridge to bariatric surgery, according to a new simulation model study published in PLOS One.

Procedure-less intragastric balloon (PIGB) eliminates costs and risks of endoscopic placement/removal and involves lower risk of serious complications compared with bariatric surgery, albeit with lower weight loss. Given the vast unmet need for obesity treatment, an important question is whether PIGB treatment is cost-effective—either stand-alone or as a bridge to bariatric surgery.

Researchers developed a microsimulation model to compare the costs and effectiveness of six treatment strategies: PIGB, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy as stand-alone treatments, PIGB as a bridge to gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, and no treatment.

-- PIGB as a bridge to bariatric surgery is less costly and more effective than bariatric surgery alone as it helps to achieve a lower post-operative BMI.

-- Of the six strategies, PIGB as a bridge to sleeve gastrectomy is the most cost-effective with an ICER of Dollars 3,781 per QALY gained.

-- While PIGB alone is not cost-effective compared with bariatric surgery, it is cost-effective compared with no treatment with an ICER of Dollars 21,711 per QALY.

Conclusively, PIGB can yield cost savings and improve health outcomes if used as a bridge to bariatric surgery and is cost-effective as a stand-alone treatment for patients lacking access or unwilling to undergo surgery.