A novel technology to help obese patients lose weight was successfully implemented for the first time in the United States at the VA North Texas Health Care System. The procedure involved the implantation of a vBloc device, a system similar to a pacemaker that could help people who suffer from obesity and struggle to lose weight with diets and exercise.
The vBloc, also known as the Maestro Rechargeable System, works by intermittently blocking intra-abdominal vagus nerve signals or message transmission related to food intake and its processing in the stomach and brain. The first procedure was conducted Thursday, May 28 by the director of the Bariatric Surgery at VA North Texas, Sachin Kukreja.
According to a press release from the institution, the patient who received the vBloc is recovering well from the procedure. “There are currently many options for patients trying to lose weight. Some involve behavior modification, others involve pharmaceuticals, or even surgery,” explained Kukreja. “For patients pursuing surgery, the vBloc therapy allows patients to have successful surgical weight loss, without the need for anatomy alterations or the food restrictions that accompany the other operations.”
The Maestro System is a wireless, customized technology designed to help patients achieve a new and healthier lifestyle. The implantation and the vBloc system are both minimally invasive and the procedure is conducted as an out-patient procedure that doesn’t change or restrict the patient’s anatomy.
“This opens a new door in the surgical weight loss arena. Earlier this year, the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approved this first-of-its-kind treatment that offers a neuroscience-based approach to the treatment of obesity, differentiating it from traditional weight loss surgical options,” continued the physician.
Last January, the FDA approved the use of the Maestro System in adult patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 to 45 kg/m2 or a BMI of 35 to 39.9 kg/m2, who suffered from a related health condition, including high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, and had already attempted to lose weight in a supervised weight management program over the previous five years.
“The Veterans Health Administration and VA North Texas are committed to improving the health and well-being of Veterans through health care innovation,” added the interim chief of Staff at VA North Texas, Jeffrey Hastings. “By incorporating treatment options into our practice like vBloc Therapy, which is on the leading edge of science and technology, we are fulfilling that promise.”