What is the AspirationAssist procedure for weight loss?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Scientists are developing a new surgical method for weight loss: aspiration. What does this mean? People could potentially suction out their stomach contents right after eating in order to lose weight. One firm, Aspire Bariatrics, is investigating this possibility by developing a device called AspirationAssist, which may hit U.S. markets as early as 2015.

With the AspirationAssist procedure, instead of going inside your abdomen while you're under general anesthesia, the surgeon installs what's called an A-tube inside your stomach and connects it to a port in your skin. After you eat a meal, food travels to the stomach and the digestion process begins. You then connect the A-tube to a portable vacuum and aspirate the stomach contents before the body absorbs them. Aspire Bariatrics claims that it “allows patients to remove 30% of the food from the stomach before the calories are absorbed into the body.”

After the procedure, the patient must take a multivitamin, electrolyte supplements, and an acid-blocker to maintain proper body chemistry and nutrition.

During its investigation, Aspire Bariatrics found that obese patients using this device lost an average of 45 pounds during the first year, which is comparable to the weight loss seen in Lap-Band surgeries and the gastric sleeve procedure.

Researchers will need to determine the procedure's possible side effects, which can include infections and nutritional deficiencies. Another potential setback involves the pump’s ability to break up larger portions of solid food. Any medical professional will attest to the fact that gastronomy tubes get clogged all the time.

Even though the device won’t be available for general use in the United States until 2015 or later, this approach to weight loss is definitely unprecedented. That said, AspirationAssist will have to work out many kinks before becoming a household term like “gastric bypass.”
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.