Patients seeking rapid but safe weight loss have a new option at the Bariatric Metabolic Institute (BMI) at UC San Diego Health. During an outpatient procedure, surgeons place an adjustable saline balloon in the stomach. The volume and shape of the balloon take up space in the stomach, which encourages food portion control. The device, called Orbera, has been shown to reduce total body weight by 10 percent.
“This is a new option for patients in the U.S. who want a temporary device that significantly jump starts weight loss,” said Santiago Horgan, MD, chief of minimally invasive surgery and director of the Bariatric Metabolic Institute at UC San Diego Health. “Data on this intra-gastric balloon has shown that the average person lost 3.1 times the weight as compared with diet and exercise alone within six months.”
Under a mild sedative, Horgan places a thin and deflated medical balloon through the mouth and into the stomach during a 20-minute procedure. The flexible balloon is then filled with saline until it’s about the size of a grapefruit. The procedure does not require an overnight hospital stay. After six months, the device is removed.
Horgan, a globally recognized expert in weight loss, emphasizes that the intra-gastric balloon must be combined with consistent diet and exercise to achieve healthy long-term weight loss.
“The device will lead to significant weight reduction but to maintain it our team helps patients retrain their appetite, adopt new nutritional habits and establish a reasonable exercise routine,” said Horgan. “This combination produces phenomenal results for patients who are dedicated to both weight loss and achieving overall excellent health.”
The intra-gastric balloon is designed for adults suffering from obesity and for whom diet and exercise or pharmaceutical interventions have not worked. Patients who are eligible for the procedure must have a BMI of 30 – 40 and be willing to follow a 12-month diet and exercise regimen.
Horgan and the BMI team specialize in a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss through both surgical and non-surgical methods. The team is made up of surgeons, physicians, nurses, a program psychologist, dietitians, patient advocates and support staff who are committed to helping patients restore their health through weight loss.
The intra-gastric balloon is one of many weight loss solutions offered at BMI, an accredited Level 1 facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons. Patients who are eligible for surgery may also choose from sleeve gastrectomy, gastric plication, bypass and bypass revision, POSE and gastric banding. Options are also available for adolescents over the age of 14.