The war on obesity has just received some relief, with the recent FDA clearance of a new weight-loss device. The Maestro Rechargeable System, developed by the EnteroMedics® Inc., provides VBLOC® (vagal blocking) Therapy, which, according to the manufacturer, is a “non-anatomy altering or restricting, reversible therapy that allows patients to safely lose weight by helping patients feel less hungry, reduce the amount of food eaten at a meal, and feel full longer in between meals.” Regarded as a “pacemaker for the stomach,” the technology works by blocking the primary nerve which regulates the digestive system.
According to the CDC, more than one-third of U.S. adults live with obesity. The estimated annual cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008, accounting for more than approximately 21% of U.S. healthcare costs. The Maestro Rechargeable System has been approved for for the treatment of adult obesity among individuals who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 to 45 kg/m2 (or at least 35 to 39.9 kg/m2 with a related health condition) and who have made other attempts at weight loss within the past five years. EnteroMedics® anticipates that the device will be available at select Bariatric Centers of Excellence in the U.S. this year.