What would the fitness duo Hanz and Franz make of this? The latest weight loss gadget to hit the scene has given a twisted new meaning to the saying "I want to pump you up." Now it's more like, "I want to pump you out."
From the man who brought you the Segway comes AspireAssist: a pump that will "drain" your stomach through a valve inserted into the abdominal wall. Want more details on how it works? Consider yourself warned.
According to the product website:
The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System works by reducing the calories absorbed by the body. After eating, food travels to the stomach immediately, where it is temporarily stored and the digestion process begins. 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. The AspireAssist allows patients to remove about 30% of the food from the stomach before the calories are absorbed into the body, causing weight loss.
To begin Aspiration Therapy, a specially designed tube, known as the A-Tube™, is placed in the stomach. The A-Tube is a thin silicone rubber tube that connects the inside of the stomach directly to a discreet, poker-chip sized Skin-Port on the outside of the abdomen. The Skin-Port has a valve that can be opened or closed to control the flow of stomach contents. The patient empties a portion of stomach contents after each meal through this tube by connecting a small, handheld device to the Skin-Port. The emptying process is called "aspiration".
Dean Kamen, along with a team of physicians from Philadelphia-based Aspire Bariatrics, have applied to patent this stomach-churning new device, which is being advertised as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.
They're still in the earliest stages of product development, and have hit a few burps -- er, bumps -- in the road. One patient reported that the machine "clogs" with certain foods, like cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, pretzels and steak. It's a problem that might be resolvable with more thorough chewing. Or, you know, not using a narrow tube to suck the food out of your stomach. Either way.