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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Implanted Device Offers Option To Gastric Surgery

Rochester, MN (AHN) - A new implantable medical device called VBLOCTM vagal blocking therapy is the latest answer to gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss measures.

Developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic researchers, the device helped patients lose an average of nearly 15 percent of their excess weight.

The device was put on in a six-month, open-label trial involving three medical centers in Australia, Mexico, and Norway. It was tested on 31 obese participants who were not put on any restricted diets or given counselling that typically accompanies gastric banding or bypass.

According to findings published in the current issue of the journal Surgery, a quarter of the participants lost more than 25 percent of their excess weight, and three patients lost more than 30 percent.

The plus point of the therapy is that it is reversible and a less extreme alternative to existing bariatric surgeries, a press release said.

VBLOC therapy uses high-frequency electricity to block the nerve impulses between the brain and the stomach and pancreas. Lead wires are implanted in the abdomen with electrodes attached to the vagal nerves and the neuroregulator, a pacemaker-sized device, is implanted just under the skin.

Unlike gastric bypass, the VBLOC delivery system can be removed and it also does not damage or permanently affect the vagal nerves or digestive system.

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