UPMC is First in the State to Offer New, Non-Surgical Bariatric Procedure
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 27, 2015
– Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
is one of the first hospitals in the United States to offer the Intragastric Balloon, a newly U.S. Food and Drug Administration- (FDA) approved, minimally invasive bariatric procedure to help patients lose and maintain weight. Anita Courcoulas, M.D., M.P.H.
, chief of minimally invasive bariatric and general surgery at UPMC, was a lead investigator of the Intragastric Balloon national, multi-site clinical trial that led to FDA approval and is the only physician in the state of Pennsylvania trained to perform this procedure.
The device is a fluid filled balloon that is placed into the patient’s stomach through the mouth by a specially trained surgeon. The balloon is then filled with saline until it is about the size of a small melon and floats in the stomach for six months, after which it is removed. The balloon fills the stomach and makes patients feel as if they are full, helping with portion control and subsequent weight loss.
While the balloon is in place, the patient receives individually tailored support and education through Magee, which includes nutrition and exercise therapy. This keeps patients motivated and helps them work through weight loss barriers to meet their long-term weight goals. While the balloon is removed after six months, the personalized coaching takes place for a full year and longer, if desired.
“This is a great option for patients with lower degrees of obesity who need to lose weight but are not ready, or do not want to undergo a bariatric surgical procedure,” explained Dr. Courcoulas. “This device and weight management program is designed as a bridge treatment option between lifestyle change and surgery. It is temporary and much less invasive than surgery, and helps people learn healthy habits that will keep weight off over time.”
The weight loss device has been used in more than 220,000 patients in 80 countries and received FDA approval for use in the U.S. on August 5, 2015. Clinical trials have shown the average participant with this balloon treatment lost about three times more weight than that lost through diet and exercise alone over a six-month period.