Obesity-Fighting Implant Approved by FDA
A medical device company in Minnesota has had a big win. It can now sell its weight-loss implant in the heaviest country on the planet. In the Lancet’s list of nations with the most obese people, the United States came out on top with 13 percent of the world’s 671 million. Now Enteromedics, the Minneapolis company can offer those considering gastric-bypass surgery or similar drastic measures a less radical alternative.
Enteromedics’ device, the Maestro System, is implanted under the skin of the torso just like a pacemaker. But instead of going to the heart, the device’s leads wrap around the vagus nerve near the stomach. That nerve connects the brain to the organs of the gut. Using periodic bursts of current at 5000 Hz, the Maestro temporarily blocks nerve traffic between the stomach and the brain. This reduces the feeling of hunger and enhances the feeling of fullness.
In the carefully controlled study that won approval for “VBLOC” therapy, patients had lost an average of about 24 percent of their excess weight after 12 months, and they maintained that weight loss at 18 months.