Navigate Up

Exciting new bariatric procedure at Magee video

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
For Journalists
Communications Specialist
Telephone: 412-738-3511 or 412-586-9778
Senior Director
Telephone: 412-586-9764
Patient & Other Inquiries


UPMC is First in the State to Offer New, Non-Surgical Bariatric Procedure

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 27, 2015Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is one of the first hospitals in the United States to offer the ORBERA 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 ORBERA 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 ORBERA balloon, by Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., is part of the ORBERA Managed Weight Loss System, consisting of a non-surgical procedure and nutrition and exercise coaching. It is designed for adults with a body mass index between 30 and 40 who have tried more conservative weight reduction alternatives who need help with portion control.
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 ORBERA 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.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA