San Diego Surgeon Weighs in on Controversial Weight Loss Procedure

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Gastric ballooning has been a very popular alternative to weight loss surgery in countries all over Europe. The procedure involves inserting a special balloon into the stomach through the throat, then filling the balloon with liquid. The process is reported to be quick, relatively painless, reversible and affordable. However, it’s important to know that while this procedure may be on the horizon for Americans, it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore is still unavailable in the United States.

Gastric ballooning has been a very popular alternative to weight loss surgery in countries all over Europe. The procedure involves inserting a special balloon into the stomach through the throat, then filling the balloon with liquid. The process is reported to be quick, relatively painless, reversible and affordable. However, it’s important to know that while this procedure may be on the horizon for Americans, it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore is still unavailable in the United States.

While this procedure may not currently be a viable option for overweight or obese people in the United States, there are many other options available. The most popular procedure is known as Roux-en-Y divided gastric bypass, and is widely accepted as the most effective surgical treatment available. Considered the gold standard to alleviate severe obesity, the procedure can be performed as an open or laparoscopic procedure. With either style, the stomach is divided into two sections. One of the two sections is a new, smaller pouch that will act as the new stomach. The new stomach has the capacity of roughly two ounces, as opposed to its former size of about two quarts. This drastic reduction limits your stomach’s ability to hold food, resulting in a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount.

“The results of the procedure speak for themselves,” said Laurence Tanaka, M.D., F.A.C.S., surgeon at Pacific Bariatric Medical Surgical Group (http://www.pbsmg.com) and Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. “This procedure enables patients to make the lifestyle changes -- diet and exercise -- that will help them achieve their ideal body weight.”

Surgeons at Pacific Bariatric (http://www.pbsmg.com) have performed almost 9,000 procedures on adult and adolescent patients at Scripps Mercy Hospital. As a result of outstanding aftercare programs and support groups, patients at Pacific Bariatric see a success rate of slightly higher than the national average of 80 to 85 percent.

Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group and Scripps Mercy Hospital are nationally designated by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery as a Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery. Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, also known as Hillcrest Surgical Medical Group, Inc., has an 80-year tradition of surgical excellence and leadership in San Diego County. Scripps Mercy Hospital has been a health care leader in San Diego County for 115 years, offering patients an unparalleled continuum of care.

Established in 1890 by the Sisters of Mercy, Scripps Mercy Hospital serves the San Diego and Chula Vista communities. With 700 licensed beds, more than 3,000 employees and 1,300 physicians, Scripps Mercy Hospital is San Diego’s longest established and only Catholic medical center. With two campuses, Scripps Mercy Hospital is the largest hospital in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest in California. For more information, visit http://www.scripps.org.

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Kristin Reinhardt