A New Approach to Weight-Loss: vBloc®
Pacemakers have long been used to regulate heart function. Now, a similar approach called vBloc® is a bariatric surgery option that may help patients with obesity and weight control problems regulate their appetites, and it is now available at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Recently approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration, the therapy uses a small device with electrodes implanted along the esophagus and the stomach. This device manages signals from the brain to the vagus nerve, which regulates many of the body’s digestive functions, including the sensations of hunger and fullness. By intermittently blocking these signals, the device helps patients better regulate their appetites, allowing them to eat more appropriate portion sizes and avoid snacking between meals.
A Minimally Invasive Option
Unlike more complex bariatric surgery procedures such as gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding, the vBloc device can be implanted on an outpatient basis. It can alsoe be adjusted by your docotor as needed using wireless communication technology. This allows for you and your physician to work together in developing a weight-loss plan that is tailored to you individually. Another benefit vBloc therapy patients may have is fewer meal and lifestyle restrictions compared to those who opt for other weight-loss procedures.
Are you a candidate?
While vBloc is a promising alternative bariatric surgery therapy for weight loss, it’s not for everyone. “vBloc opens up possibilities for weight-loss surgery patients who have a lower body mass index,” says Timothy Shope, MD, a bariatric surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Patients still need to first come through our weight loss program and be evaluated to see if they are eligible for the therapy.”
You may be a candidate for vBloc Therapy if you meet these criteria:
- Have tried to lose weight by diet and exercise in a supervised program within the last 5 years
- Are at least 18 years of age
- Have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with a health-related condition such as: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol