• The AspireAssist is a weight loss device for the clinically obese
• A tube is surgically connected from the stomach to an exit hole on the abdomen
• Patients lose weight by draining food from their stomach to the toilet
• The FDA have approved the device for public use
Bulimics are often criticised for their unhealthy attitude to weight loss. But a leading firm has taken the principle behind bulimia, eating food then removing before it is digested, and have used it to create a weight loss ‘bulimia machine.’
The AspireAssist is a tube that is surgically placed into the stomach with the other end connected to a valve on the outside of the abdomen. After eating, patients connect an external pump with a water bag to the valve. The water is pumped into the stomach and is used to flush out the food into the toilet before it has had a chance to be absorbed by the body. The pump can remove up to 30% of the consumed calories.
Patients are also advised to chew slowly to allow the brain to register when they are full and to have lifestyle counselling so that they can start making sensible changes to eating habits.
William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for science and chief scientist in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said “The AspireAssist approach helps provide effective control of calorie absorption, which is a key principle of weight management therapy. Patients need to be regularly monitored by their health care provider and should follow a lifestyle program to help them develop healthier eating habits and reduce their calorie intake.”
Using the bulimia machine isn’t without risk. Users have experienced infection, bleeding, pain, nausea and vomiting. The FDA recommend that people who have had other gastric surgery or have suffered from eating disorders do not use it. Only people who are older than 22 with a body mass index of 35 to 55 will be considered.
The Aspire Assist is intended for use by patients who have been unsuccessful in permanent weight loss without surgery. It provides a less expensive option to the gastric band and has less invasive surgery. The incremental weight loss also means patients avoid issues related to baggy skin, as such it provides a more measured approach to weight loss surgery.