Search Virginia Mason News

SEATTLE – (Jan. 18, 2016) — Virginia Mason has begun the new year by becoming one of the first in the region to offer a new balloon therapy weight loss program for obese adults.

This innovative therapy, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last August, involves placing a soft, deflated balloon in the patient’s stomach during a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure performed on an outpatient basis.

When the gastric balloon system is in place, it is filled with sterile saline and becomes the size of a grapefruit. By occupying space in the stomach, the inflated balloon limits food intake and reduces feelings of hunger. It remains inside the stomach for six months while the patient participates in a behavior modification program and a medically supervised diet.

“This is an exciting, nonsurgical option for men and women who are struggling with a complex disease like obesity,” said Michael Larsen, MD, gastroenterologist, Virginia Mason Digestive Disease Institute.

After six months, the balloon is removed during another short endoscopic procedure. The care team’s focus remains on the patient’s diet and exercise, and helping the individual develop a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

The weight-loss device is an option for obese adults with a body-mass index (BMI) of 30-40, who have tried supervised diets, exercise and behavior modification but have been unable to lose excess pounds or keep them off. In clinical trials, patients using the balloon device lost an average of 40 percent of their extra weight after six months.

Positioning the balloon in the stomach is accomplished using an endoscope inserted through the patient’s mouth. This procedure typically takes less than one hour and requires a short recovery time that enables most patients to go home the same day.

Learn more about the balloon therapy weight loss program. To schedule a consultation, call the Virginia Mason Digestive Disease Institute, (206) 223-2319.

More information about the intra-gastric balloon system is also available through the Food and Drug Administration.

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

Back to Search