The FDA has now given the nod to a weight loss device that pumps the stomach. It is meant to be an alternative obesity treatment to bariatric surgeries. Those surgeries typically function by either bypassing the stomach or shrinking it. They are invasive, expensive, difficult for the patient and potentially risky.
For that reason, alternative obesity treatments are consistently sought. Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a weight loss device that pumps the stomach. This approval was not without controversy. It is called the AspireAssist. Its manufacturer is Aspire Bariatrics, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
The concept behind this weight loss device that pumps the stomach is relatively straightforward. A tube is inserted into the patient’s stomach. A small external gadget then pumps stomach contents back out of the patient’s stomach. In this way, about one third of the patient’s stomach contents are removed after every meal. Those stomach contents are then disposed of down a toilet.
During the AspireAssist clinical trials, patients were asked to use the device following every meal. They were also required to keep regular meetings with counselors. Those counselors provided information about making healthful food choices. On average, those clinical trial participants lost 12 percent of their body fat in a year. At the same time, the participants who received only counseling without the device lost an average of 3 percent of their body fat in a year.
Weight loss occurs steadily and gradually when using this device. Moreover, it has been designed to ensure patients still obtain nutrition from their meals.
The device implantation requires an outpatient procedure which takes about 15 minutes to complete. Patients are still required to change their eating habits. This is not meant to be a stand-alone solution to obesity. Furthermore, patients need to chew their food extremely efficiently or the device will not be able to pump the contents through the small tube.
Those opposed to the device have compared it to bulimia. They’ve said it is disgusting and unnatural and builds an unhealthy relationship with eating. However, those in favor of the device say it may be a viable long-term solution for many obesity patients.
For people with obesity and who have not been able to successfully lose weight in other ways, it may offer a new option. Naturally, this would not be the first choice prescribed by doctors. Other eating strategies- and exercise-based efforts and the use of diet pills such as 3G Burn will need to have been tried first.