These Medical Devices Are Approved to Treat Obesity

There’s a lot of quackery out there. This is especially true of the weight-loss market, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to clarify which weight loss procedures are approved.

Medical procedures designed to help people lose weight are more popular than ever. This is due in no small part to rising rates of obesity in the U.S.

As of this year, more than 68 percent of U.S. adults are considered overweight.

This high rate of obesity alarms health officials, since obesity is linked to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

With the stakes this high, no American can afford to experiment with weight-loss treatments and devices that aren’t FDA approved.

With this in mind, here’s what you need to know about these devices, courtesy of the FDA:

Gastric Bands

These bands are surgically implanted around the stomach. They limit the amount of food a person can eat at one time and increase digestion time, which helps people eat less.

Electrical Stimulation System

This system is surgically implanted into the abdomen to block nerve activity between the brain and the stomach. It includes nerve electrodes, wire leads, and a rechargeable electrical pulse generator that delivers electrical signals to electrodes.

External controllers let the patient charge the device and let health care professionals adjust settings. (The process of electric stimulation is understood, but specific reasons for why this helps with weight loss are unknown.)

Gastric Balloons

These temporary devices include one or two balloons that fill space in the stomach. They’re placed using an endoscope (a long flexible tube with a small camera and light at the end). Then they’re filled with salt water (saline) and sealed. Balloons should be removed after six months.

Gastric Emptying System

This recently approved device includes a tube placed in the stomach via an endoscope and a port that lies against the skin of the abdomen. It’s not approved for use in certain patients, including those who have eating disorders such as bulimia.

It’s used to drain a portion of the stomach contents into a receptacle 20 to 30 minutes after meals. It must be shortened by a health care provider as patients lose weight (and girth) so the port continues to lie against the skin. Recipients must thoroughly chew all food, among other lifestyle changes and may have the device removed when they reach their target weight.

Find out more at FDA.

Losing weight is one of the most impactful and positive things you can do to improve your quality of life, and your long-term health. Just make sure you do it in a way that’s both safe and effective.

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