A new FDA-approved procedure is now being offered in San Diego for weight-loss. The
gastric "belly" balloon is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that has been shown to be up to
three times more effective for weight loss than those who do diet and
In this 20 to 30-minute procedure, a deflated silicon balloon is inserted
through the mouth into the stomach with an endoscope; the patient receives
mild sedation. Once inserted, it is inflated with sterile saline. Inflated,
the balloon is about the size of a grapefruit. This creates a feeling
of fullness and helps patients moderate food intake. After six months,
the balloon is removed. Patients agree to participate in a one-year medically
supervised diet and exercise program to improve long-term outcomes.
"One of the reasons why people hit a weight plateau is because dieting
alone increases chemical hunger," said
Dr. Julie Ellner of Alvarado Hospital, who is one of the first doctors to offer this procedure
in San Diego. "This is a way to relieve the hunger and be successful
without surgery or drugs."
"The balloon has been available for almost two decades outside of
the U.S. and has proven successful in many European and other countries,"
Dr. Ellner added, "For millions of people who want to lose weight
without surgery, it gives them the boost they need."
Typically, a person has to have a BMI between 30-40 to qualify and need
to lose approximately 25-50 pounds. The procedure is not currently covered
Dr. Ellner performs the procedure at the
Physicians Surgery Center at Alvarado, unless otherwise advised by the physician.
Dr. Ellner will be offering a free seminar on the belly balloon at on April
6 at 6 p.m. at Alvarado Hospital. To register,
e-mail us or call (800) 258-2723.