The FDA approved a new device aimed to aid weight-loss, and in order to work, it drains a portion of the stomach's contents. The device removes a third of what's inside the stomach before the body digests and absorbs it.
The technology is named AspireAssist, and it was designed by researchers from Aspire Bariatrics in Pennsylvania. It will cater to select patients struggling with obesity, and is set to be cheaper and less invasive than bariatric surgery.
The device works by siphoning off food through a tube connected to the stomach, which is surgically inserted via a 15-minute procedure. A skin-port, a plug attached to the skin, gives access to the tube. After turning it on, you can basically watch around 30 percent of what you ate funnel into the toilet.
Notably, only the upper contents of the stomach are flushed out, for the device sits at the upper portion of the stomach. After draining for about 5 to 10 minutes, the entire system and the stomach needs to be flushed with fresh water.
There were 171 obese patients for the clinical trial performed by Aspire. The control group, composed of 60 patients, received lifestyle therapy only and the remaining received lifestyle therapy and used the device. The patients from the control group lost 3.6 per cent of their total body weight after a year while the AspireAssist group lost an average of 12.1 per cent.
There are some major drawbacks for the device. One, the device requires food to be chewed well, as it can only suck tiny bits of food. Some patients also experienced sore throats and even bleeding. It is also expensive. Excluding the procedure for insertion of the tube, it costs around US$8,000 to US$13,000, including lifestyle counselling.