Obesity is a complex yet treatable medical condition that has become one of the most significant health concerns across the globe. Multiple factors like genetics, unhealthy eating habits, low physical activity levels, excessive stress, specific medical conditions, certain medications, major emotional changes, etc. can influence your health behaviors and add pounds to your body weight. If you can’t win the challenge of keeping that excess weight off, you end up getting obese. Non-surgical treatment of obesity mostly focuses on lifestyle intervention while intake of weight loss pills is another common approach to it. But these can hardly help you achieve long-term success. So, if you are looking for a smart and effective weight loss procedure, choose AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System. Here is everything you must know about it.
What Is AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy?
The ‘AspireAssist’ Aspiration Therapy is a durable and powerful non-surgical weight management therapy, introduced by a commercial-stage medical device company called Aspire Bariatrics, Inc. (1) It is an affordable yet highly effective alternative to invasive bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, gastric band, and gastric sleeve surgery) that treats obesity (both Class II and Class III) with minimal complications, better safety, and complete reversibility. The simple and fast procedure of Aspiration Therapy is performed on an outpatient basis and you can start enjoying a normal, healthy lifestyle by recovering quickly.
The holistic approach of Aspiration Therapy allows patients to experience real, long-term weight loss while developing healthier behaviors through the add-on lifestyle counseling program. Though there are no specific food restrictions, they need to learn moderate eating and careful chewing for easier aspiration. Combined with strong commitment, these result in an enhanced quality of life along with greater weight loss satisfaction.
About The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System
The AspireAssist System is a new, minimally-invasive, endoscopic device, which is a breakthrough in the obesity treatment. It got the premarket approval (PMA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2016. The endoluminal device has the following components (2):
This 26F silicone PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) tube comes with a gastric segment containing 5 aspiration holes. It is attached to the patient during the therapy so that the stomach contents can enter through those holes.
This is a low-profile plastic valve, which is fixed to the outer end of the A-Tube. It establishes a connection to the detachable components in order to facilitate the process of aspiration.
3. Detachable Components
These include the Companion and related accessories including the Connector, which is locked onto the Skin-Port during the procedure. This opens the valve and pushes the stomach contents into the tubing set, thereby draining into the toilet directly. It is a gravity-based technique that can be performed a maximum of 115 times before replacing the device.
How Does It Work?
Once we have our meal, the food reaches the stomach and remains there until digestion starts. For the next hour, the stomach breaks down the food and passes it on to the intestines so that the body can absorb the calories. The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy follows an innovative ‘dual mechanism’ that promotes weight loss through portion control and reduced absorption of this calorie. It uses a modified PEG technology to prevent up to 30% of calories from being absorbed into the body by ‘aspirating’ or removing a certain portion of the food from the stomach almost 20-30 minutes after each major meal. It is also important to chew the food extensively and mindfully so that the average meal consumption time increases more than two times. This induces weight loss while helping us make gradual, healthy lifestyle modifications (3).
Who Are Good Candidates?
Following are the ideal candidates for the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy:
- An obese adult aged 22 years or older
- Having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 35.0-55.0 kg/m2
- Unable to lose or maintain weight with non-surgical solutions
- Declined invasive bariatric surgery
- Do not have difficulty in swallowing or digesting food
- No history of stomach ulcers, uncontrollable hypertension, blood clotting, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, anemia, bulimia, binge eating, night eating syndrome, chronic abdominal pain, etc.
- No history of abdominal surgery, physical or mental disability, or psychological illness that can increase complications
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
The AspireAssist Aspiration Procedure
- You are administered twilight anesthesia or conscious sedation or Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) before performing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
- The thin A-Tube is placed in your stomach and connected directly to a discreet button on the outside of your abdomen using the standard ‘pull’ PEG technique.
- After a week, your stoma tract will be healed partially. Then, the Skin-Port is attached to the external end of the A-Tube while you remain seated.
- After one more week, as your stomach tract heals completely, the detachable components of the device are customized and set up as per the requirements. You are also provided with your operational training.
- You undergo your very first aspiration on the same day around 20-30 minutes after ingesting the training meal. It is performed in a private restroom and the stomach is emptied directly into the toilet. To clear any occlusion, you can flush the tube by using water.
- Once the aspiration is done, the device is stored back in a small handheld case.
The A-Tube implantation is a quick 15-minute outpatient procedure while the process of Aspiration takes only 5-10 minutes.
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- Take pain medications as prescribed by your doctor for tube site pain management. It usually goes away in 2-3 days.
- Commit to aspirating after each major meal. At the initial stage, it should be done at least 3 times daily. Reduce the frequency as you approach your weight loss goal.
- Follow the dietary recommendations made by your doctor religiously. For the first week, consume only pureed or mashed food. Soft and ground food, which needs minimal chewing, can be eaten during the second week. Gradually introduce more difficult items in your diet. Also, drink lots of fluid throughout the day.
- Attend monthly lifestyle counseling sessions (one-on-one) to develop healthy habits and encourage sustainable weight loss.
- Keep visiting your doctor every month or two for monitoring your weight loss progress. This also includes the checking of the levels of fluids and electrolytes, deficit of nutrients in the body, health of the button site, etc.
Recovery And Downtime
After the therapy, you can return home just within a couple hours. The recovery is also pretty quick. You can resume all your normal activities as well as indulge in exercise, swimming, etc. once your body gets healed around the tube site.
Risks And Complications
Potential risks and complications associated with the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System are anesthetic nausea or vomiting, abdominal discomfort or pain, infection, non-bleeding pre-pyloric ulceration, peritonitis, peristomal leakage, peristomal skin irritation, peristomal granulation tissue, erythema, buried bumper syndrome, aspiration pneumonia, hypoventilation, electrolyte abnormalities, abdominal bloating, occasional indigestion, sore throat, constipation, and diarrhea.
Also Read – 6 Factors To Consider Before Joining A Weight Loss Program
You may end up regaining weight once the therapy is stopped. However, as it includes lifestyle counseling, patients can achieve weight loss goals and maintain standard body weights through gradual, healthy changes. Thus, the procedure actually offers long-term benefits only.
Removal Of AspireAssist
You can remove the device whenever you want through a similar 10-minute outpatient procedure and the tube site closes naturally over time. It does not cause any permanent change to the gastrointestinal anatomy.
The average total cost of the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy ranges from $7,000 to $13,000 for an entire year.
- “AspireAssist® Demonstrates Significant Weight Loss through Four Years with Strong Safety Profile“, GlobeNewswire
- “AspireAssist: Clinician Guide“, AccessData.FDA.Gov
- “About The AspireAssist”, AspireBariatrics.com