Starting her life over as a single woman in San Diego, Paula Shanahan was
determined to lose weight once and for all and embrace her new Southern
California lifestyle. Having tried “every diet there is” over
the years, Paula’s tipping point came at the dissolution of her
31-year marriage and return to her San Diego hometown.
“I was starting my life over again, I wanted to get healthy for myself
and my kids,” Paula said. “Having failed a million diets,
I started researching other options and came across the
belly balloon, which was affordable and the least invasive.”
The gastric belly balloon has been offered in Europe for many years, and
was recently approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. In this procedure,
a deflated silicone balloon is inserted into the stomach and then filled
with sterile saline. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes in an outpatient
setting. The balloon, which is inflated to about the size of a grapefruit,
creates a sense of fullness and limits food intake.
After the 15-minute procedure last August with
Dr. Julie Ellner, who is a bariatric surgeon with Alvarado Hospital, Paula said she felt
full right away. “You’re much more aware of your stomach,”
she said, adding that she cut out red meat, heavy carbs and starches and
replaced with salad, chicken, fruits and vegetables.
“What has been shocking to me in dealing with patients who have had
the balloon is the amount of actual appetite suppression that they are
experiencing,” said Dr. Ellner. “I knew it would make them
feel fuller overall, but my patients are describing substantial decrease
in their cravings. I really had no idea that the balloon would work that
Paula reached her goal of 50 pounds* in five months and the balloon was
removed in January of 2017. “In the beginning, I didn’t feel
like the weight came off fast enough. However, people eventually started
noticing and commenting, which encouraged me toward my goal.”
She is optimistic she will reach her ultimate goal to lose 75 pounds and
has already started dating again. Paula’s success correlates with
the research that shows the Orbera belly balloon, which Dr. Ellner utilizes,
has been proven to triple weight loss versus diet and exercise alone.
Paula’s one-year weight-loss program included insertion and removal
of the belly balloon and medically supervised diet and behavior modification program.
“Anyone who has around 50 pounds to lose, at any age, would benefit
from the balloon,” Paula said. “I especially love that it’s
not invasive and how supportive Dr. Ellner has been.”
“It has been such a treat for me to watch Paula lose weight,”
Dr. Ellner added. “It gave her renewed confidence in this new chapter
of her life. As a woman, I'm proud of her for taking this step to
Dr. Ellner holds monthly seminars on the belly balloon for anyone interested
in learning more and is currently doing a research study for interested
participants. The next belly balloon seminar is April 11 at 6 p.m. Call
(619) 286-7866 for information on the seminars and research study. You
can sign up online to attend the April seminar
*Weight-loss results vary based on each patient's physical health,
diet and exercise, and adherence to the program.