FDA has just approved a new gastric drain device for the treatment of severe obesity and it’s easy to find people with strong opinions about it. The AspireAssist system consists of a small tube placed through the skin and into the stomach. It connects to a port on the surface of the skin outside the stomach. About 20 minutes after a meal, the patient attaches a device to the port that drains about 30% of the calories consumed into the toilet. The Food and Drug Administration approved a new and unusual weight loss device Tuesday: an external pump that dumps part of the stomach contents into the toilet. Some critics have called it “assisted bulimia” but the device, approved for use in very obese patients, helps them lose on average more than 12 percent of body weight — far more than pills or most diets.
The device is considered minimally invasive and includes a tube that goes from the inside of the stomach to a port on the outside of the abdomen. The pump can be attached to the outside port as needed to remove about a third of the stomach’s contents at a time.
Clinical trials showed patient lost an average of 46 pounds during the first year and another few pounds to make 50 pounds of weight loss by the second year.
“The AspireAssist device should not be used on patients with eating disorders, and it is not intended to be used for short durations in those who are moderately overweight,” the FDA said in a statement.