On January 14th, 2015, the FDA approved a new surgical product for the American market that could revolutionize weight-loss surgery. The Maestro Rechargeable System, developed by EnteroMedics, Inc., is a treatment intended for those who suffer from morbid obesity or who are obese with one or more obesity-related conditions.
So how does it work, one might ask? Surgeons would place an internal component inside the stomach that would emit electrical impulses to nerve electrodes lining the vagus nerve in the abdomen. Two electrical leads would then connect the electrodes directly to the pulse generator. These internal components would attach to a transmit coil, a mobile charger, and a clinician programmer that could be manually operated externally. These electrical impulses transmitted by the Maestro Rechargeable System in the stomach sends signals to the brain that the stomach feels empty or full.
Although the weight loss mechanisms remain unclear, one could see the advantages for creating a feeling of “fullness” amongst those who crave food. It has been shown by numerous studies that cutting appetite can directly lead to weight-loss amongst obese patients. The Maestro Rechargeable System is intended for use by morbidly obese patients: those with a Body Mass Index that fall between 40 and 45 or those with obesity-related health complications such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure and whose BMI falls between 35 and 39.9. Since this procedure is relatively new, only those who are 18 years and above are eligible.
According to a study conducted by the manufacturer, a sample group of people who used the Maestro Rechargeable System lost 8.5% more excess weight than those belonging to a control group, who used other means of weight-loss. On average, those that used the product lost 24.4 pounds in comparison to 15.9 pounds for those who didn’t. These results are promising, but the surgery may not be for everyone. Patients who may have a higher risk to surgical procedures do not make ideal candidates for the procedure and may need to look elsewhere to resolve their weight-related woes.
Written by: Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner