Medical Devices that Treat Obesity

December 21, 2016

Per federal statistical data, if your doctor has told you that you are overweight (or obese), then you have joined over 68 percent of U.S. population of adults who are also that way.

Obesity contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Your health care provider may offer suggestions on how to alter your eating and exercise habits to help you lose weight.

However, when diet and exercise are not enough, you may have to employ other strategies like invasive surgery, medical devices and prescription medications. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons of using these treatments.

Recently, the FDA approved medical devices to help solve some obesity-related issues (like high blood pressure, for instance).

What FDA-approved devices are used to treat obesity?

In the United States, the FDA has approved specific medical devices as safe and effective for weight loss. Most products can be adjusted or removed when implanted in the body, but some treatments come with risks.

To date, there are four medical devices that are FDA-approved for treating obesity in some patients ages 18 and up: gastric balloons, an electrical stimulation system, gastric bands, and a gastric emptying system. Regardless of which device is used, close monitoring by a health professional is required.

The risks for using each device varies, but common side effects are nausea (or vomiting), infection or bleeding.  Even with these treatments and drastic dietary and exercise life changes, some people may still find it impossible to keep the weight off or even lose it to begin with.

Gastric Balloons

An endoscope (small flexible tube with a light and camera on the end) is used to insert two balloons (or sometimes one is used) filled with saline (salt water) to fill up space in the stomach. After six months, the balloons must be removed.

Electrical Stimulation System

This surgically-implanted device goes into the abdomen and blocks nerve activity between the brain and the stomach. It has electrodes, wire leads, and a rechargeable electrical pulse generator that delivers electrical signals to electrodes. There are external controllers that allows the patient to charge the device and allows the health care provider to adjust the settings.

Gastric Bands

A surgeon implants these bands that restrict the amount of food a person can eat. It also increases digestion time, which also promotes lesser eating.

Gastric Emptying System

This is a recent discovery that uses an endoscope to implant a tube into the stomach that drains part of the stomachs contents into a receptacle between 20 to 30 minutes after a meal. This product is not recommended for people with eating disorders (especially bulimia).

 

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