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New weight-loss pump sucks food from stomach after meals

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 The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System pumps food out of an obese patient's stomach through a skin-port and tube. (Aspire Bariatrics)A new that device that lets people eat as much as they want, while still losing weight, is now available to consumers in Europe - but they'll need a pretty strong stomach to handle it.

The AspireAssist is essentially a self-operated stomach pump designed to help combat obesity.

It works by allowing a patient to empty food from their stomach straight into the toilet after eating through a tube connected to an access-port in the abdomen.

The device can be implanted during a short outpatient procedure that manufacturer Aspire Bariatrics calls "minimally-invasive and completely reversible at any time."

According to the company, the stomach-emptying (or "aspiration") process should be performed approximately 20 minutes after every full meal is finished.

"Over the first hour after a meal, the stomach begins breaking down the food, and then passes the food on to the intestines, where calories are absorbed," explains the website. "The AspireAssist allows patients to remove about 30 per cent of the food from the stomach before the calories are absorbed into the body, causing weight loss."

The system has been developed into a commercial product and received the European CE Mark of approval in 2011. Clinical trials are ongoing in the U.S., but it has not yet been FDA approved.

Aspire Bariatrics recently filed a patent for the system with award-winning engineer Dean Kamen's name among the inventors listed. Kamen is best known for creating the Segway Personal Transporter.

As icky as the aspiration process may seem (some are criticizing the AspireAssist a type of high-tech bulimia machine,) GizMag's Brian Dodson points out that similar stomach feeding ports have been used in patients for decades with very few complications.

The company touts the tool as a less expensive and less surgically invasive alternative to gastric bypass surgery, which operates on the same principal of removing some food from the stomach before it can enter the intestines.

What do you think about AspireAssist? Would you consider a stomach tube and skin port device to lose weight? Or do you think this is nothing more than a lazy to lose weight without improving one's health?

Tags: POV

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