Stomach pump integration [Image Source: Aspire]
Caution: This article explores the procedure of an FDA approved stomach pump that could be disturbing to some readers. You have been warned.
A new weight loss pump that is implanted directly into the stomach aimed to promote weight loss was recently approved by the FDA.
The device, deemed the AspireAssist, engineered and produced by medical technology company Aspire, designed the pump to assist obese people with weight loss. Recently approved by the FDA after a successful clinical trial, Aspire is now distributing the device to be used in thousands of patients.
How it works
The device functions by pumping food from the stomach into a sack that reduces the food content by one third, thereby reducing caloric intake leading to weight loss. A small tube must first be implanted into the stomach with a minimally invasive surgical technique that is reportedly only a 15 minute procedure. The procedure is conducted while the patient is under twilight anesthesia, allowing the patient to return home in just a couple hours. Once implanted within the stomach, a tube is then extended from the stomach lining to a skin lock that secures the device almost flush to the patients skin.
After eating, food travels to the stomach where the food is temporarily stored and digestion begins. During the first hour of digestion, the stomach initiates the digestion process, breaking down food into components then digestible by the intestines where the calories are extracted. However, the AspireAssist intercepts the food before it reaches the absorption process. A hand-operated pump attaches to the skin-lock and forces water through a tube which then allows the stomach mulch to drain out. The process is known as aspiration. Up to a third of the stomach can be emptied, significantly reducing caloric intake.
Aspiration of the stomach is performed within 20 to 30 minutes following an entire meal. The process takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The AspireAssist is designed to be used within the privacy of a restroom where the food can be drained directly into the toilet. Since the device only removes about 30% of the food, the body still absorbs the necessary amount of calories to operate.
During a clinical trial involving 171 participants, Aspire concluded those who used the device lost 3 times as much as those who undertook lifestyle counseling. Aspire goes on to explain
“The most successful patients – those who aspirate regularly and learn to make healthier choices – have lost 100% of their excess weight with the AspireAssist and have maintained that weight loss for more than four years so far. Compared to other approaches, the AspireAssist has similar results without requiring invasive alterations to the anatomy or digestive process.”
For the past 35 years, feeding tubes have helped impaired persons acquire the necessary calories in order to survive. Now, Aspire is looking to reverse the process while maintaining a low risk of serious complications. Once implemented, the device can be easily removed following another 10 minute procedure. Aspire is certainly exploring uncharted waters and will likely see a divide of support and opposition for their truly bizarre and slightly grotesque approach to a weight loss solution.