Pass the Sick Bag: A New Low in Weight Management Therapy

Wow was the politest mono-syllable I could mouth when I read this…

A device, known as Aspire Assist, that allows people to empty some of their stomach contents into a toilet after a meal has just got the go ahead from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA, 2016). The (stomach-churning) device is approved for use by people who are severely obese.

The device involves a tube being placed into the stomach in a short surgical procedure. The end of the tube contains a valve that lies flush against the skin. After meals the user can connect the valve to another tube to drain about one third of their partially digested food into the toilet. It cannot remove more than this because the end of the internal tube is positioned above most of the stomach’s contents.

The manufacturer, Aspire Bariatrics located in Pennsylvania (Aspire Bariatrics really?), says users need to chew their food well and eat more slowly to stop the 6mm tube from getting blocked (the manufacturer suggests that this in itself helps reduce overeating).

The device has a safety feature which means it can only be used three times a day for up to six weeks before one part stops working and needs to be replaced.

Apparently, in a trial of 171 people, those who used the device alongside lifestyle counselling (111/171) lost 12.1 of their bodyweight after one year, whereas those who only had counselling (60/171) lost 3.6% of their bodyweight.

Reference

FDA (Food and Drug Administration) (2016) FDA Approves AspireAssist Obesity Device. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm506625.htm. [Accessed: 17 July, 2016].

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