Doctors are Horrified by New Weight-Loss Device Approved by the FDA

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By: Krystle Crossman

There are many different ways that people try to lose weight other than diet or exercise. Most of these methods may work initially but the weight comes back eventually. There are pills that can be taken that claim to boost your metabolism or burn fat while you sit around and do nothing. Most of these pills don’t do anything and people find that they are not losing the weight that they thought they would. When these methods fail people tend to turn to medical procedures. Bariatric weight loss surgeries are not easy and require a lot of work but they are not for everyone. Now there is a new medical procedure that has been approved by the FDA that has doctors in an uproar.

The new device called AspireAssist is a tube that is surgically implanted into the patient’s stomach and comes out through the stomach wall. There is a valve that sits right around the belly button that the patient can open and close. When they open the valve the food that is in the stomach comes out before it is actually digested. The patient must wait 20-30 minutes after eating and then they can open the valve. It takes out roughly 30% of the calories that they have consumed. Doctors are appalled at this new device. They are even trying to get a group together to sue the company that is making it. There are roughly 750 physicians in this group so far, and they hope to gather at least 4,000.

So why are doctors so up in arms about this new device if it helps patients to lose weight? Physician Joseph Gutman from Pembroke Pines, Florida says that it puts patients at an extreme risk of developing an eating disorder. He states that it mimics a form of bulemia where patients binge eat and then throw the food back up. Only instead of them throwing it up, they are forcing it through a medically implanted tube. The CEO of the company Asprie Bariatrics, the company that designed the device, says that it is not possible for a patient to binge eat if they want the device to work like it is supposed to. The patient must chew their food very thoroughly or else it will become lodged in the tube which is only the size of a regular drinking straw. This makes the patient eat at a much slower pace so they cannot binge on foods.

Eric Wilcoxon from Missouri had the procedure done during their clinical trial phase. He agrees that it is not possible to binge eat because of the amount of chewing that you have to do in order to make your food small enough to pass through the tube. He has lost 128 pounds so far over the course of a few years with the device. Shelby Sullivan led one of the trials for the device. She states that people who have the device tend to have a healthier diet as well because foods such as veggies and fruits look about the same going out as they do coming in, but higher fat foods like cheeseburgers do not look so good. The risks of having the tube put in are numerous and it is very painful for a while after. Is it worth it?

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