New devices for treating obesity">
JANUARY 21, 2013
New devices for treating obesity

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes the AspireAssist. This device, not yet FDA-approved, consists of a tube implanted in the stomach which leads to a port which is exposed on the surface of the abdomen.

Now, I’m not making this up.

You can eat whatever you want. Then 20 minutes after your meal, you attach a pump to the port and siphon and lavage the contents of your stomach into a bucket or basin, I guess. The manufacturer says that this will remove about a third of what is eaten leading to weight loss if done after every meal.

It doesn’t tell you how to gracefully dispose of the contents of the stomach, especially if you are dining at say, McDonald’s.

The only research on this product is in the form of a poster that was shown at a meeting of the Obesity Society in October of 2011. It was a prospective trial of 11 patients who received the device plus “lifestyle intervention” compared to 7 patients who had only “lifestyle intervention.” It was funded by the maker of the device.

Ten subjects completed a year with the device vs. only 4 who stuck with the lifestyle intervention. Baseline characteristics were similar for the two groups. Percent weight loss and absolute weight loss were significantly greater in the device group. The average one-year weight loss was 20 kg.

However, 10/11 patients had pain more than 4 weeks after surgery and irritation and bleeding at the stoma occurred in about half the patients. Two had infections at the site. Constipation occurred in 6 patients and anemia in 4.

If you can stomach it, there is a video at the company’s website. Thankfully, it’s an animation.

Medgadget describes the concept as “high-tech bulimia.”

If that doesn’t appeal to you, how about something more simple?

Introducing the “smart fork.”

A flashing light and vibration tells you when you are eating too fast. It monitors how long it takes you to eat your meal. It has Bluetooth and USB connectivity so you can upload data to your phone or computer. Here’s an excessively overproduced video explaining it.

But wait, there’s more—it’s dishwasher safe, as a view from inside the dishwasher shows.

As far as I know, Ron Popeil has nothing to do with this product.

At least it looks a lot less messy than washing out your stomach through your abdominal wall.

I don’t think surgeons doing gastric bypasses have anything to worry about just yet.

Skeptical Scalpel is a recently retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last two years, he has been blogging at and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog averages 800 page views per day, and he has over 4500 followers on Twitter.

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