Most people who need to lose 65 or more pounds have tried multiple times to lose the weight on their own. While they may have some success at first, less than five percent of people keep the weight off for five years or more. 

– Philip Schauer, MD, bariatric surgeon and Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute

AspireAssist is a minimally invasive, non-permanent weight-loss procedure that reduces calorie absorption, allowing patients to lose weight and improve weight-related health conditions.

This reversible procedure is ideal for those who want to experience moderate to significant weight loss without removal of any part of the stomach or re-routing of the intestine.

Evidence shows that AspireAssist can help patients lose up to three times more weight than they can just with diet and exercise alone.

How does AspireAssist work?

AspireAssist

AspireAssist is a system that allows you to remove 30 percent of your stomach contents after every meal to reduce the body’s calorie absorption. A small incision is made in the abdomen for the insertion of a tube and small disk-shaped valve. The tube connects the stomach to the valve, which is connected to an access port on the outside of the abdomen.

Twenty minutes after a meal, the patient connects a device to the access port and empties a portion of the stomach contents into a toilet, while the remaining food digests normally.

This reduction in the amount of food digested can help patients lose weight at a steady, consistent pace when combined with good nutrition and regular exercise. For the AspireAssist to work optimally, you must chew your food slowly, thoroughly, and mindfully to prevent overeating, and to allow for proper digestion. Chewing food thoroughly also helps contents pass more easily into the tube for removal after you are finished eating.

This rendering provided by Aspire Bariatrics, Inc. demonstrates the use of the AspireAssist weight loss device, approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. The AspireAssist system consists of a thin tube implanted in the stomach, connecting to an outside port on the skin of the belly, which itself is connected to an external device, which helps remove nearly a third of the food stored in the stomach before calories are absorbed into the body, causing weight loss. (Aspire Bariatrics, Inc. via AP)

What are the benefits of AspireAssist?

AspireAssist is an FDA-approved medical device for use in weight-loss treatment. The AspireAssist offers several advantages to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Proven results

People using AspireAssist have been shown to lose more than 12 percent of their original body weight within the first year of using the device, which is more favorable than the average 3.6 percent of body weight lost with just weight counseling on its own. Those who are severely obese may lose over 100 pounds with the AspireAssist. Results will vary based on your food choices, portion sizes, and physical activity level.

Completely reversible

This weight-loss procedure is completely reversible and does not reroute the intestines or remove a portion of the stomach. This minimally invasive surgery requires your surgeon to make one tiny cut on your abdomen for the insertion of the tube and valve. If you decide later on that you want the AspireAssist removed, your doctor can remove the tube and valve and facilitate proper healing of your stomach and abdomen.

Reinforces healthy eating

Nutrition will be more important than ever with the AspireAssist, as your body will be absorbing fewer calories. The food choices you make must be highly nutrient-dense so you can benefit from a higher level of vitamins and minerals that sustain your energy and help prevent nutrient deficiencies. The AspireAssist can help you ease into improved nutrition and food choices as you benefit from weight loss.

What are the risks and drawbacks of AspireAssist?

Every weight-loss system comes with its own risks and drawbacks — especially since there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone when it comes to losing weight.

The potential risks and disadvantages associated with the AspireAssist include:

Side effects and complications

The most common side effects of the AspireAssist are skin irritation around the button site and abdominal discomfort following the procedure. Potential complications include herniation, infection, and ulceration, which may be treated using medications or by removing or replacing the tube. Though the AspireAssist is minimally invasive, this procedure may cause side effects and complications just like any other weight-loss surgery.

Time and commitment

The AspireAssist requires you to take between five and 10 minutes after meals to aspirate, or remove, 30 percent of your stomach contents. People who use this weight-loss method are urged to aspirate three times per day every day to achieve the best weight-loss results. You’ll also be required to meet with your doctor regularly for monitoring and checkups, and to discuss your weight-loss progress.

Changes to eating habits

After your AspireAssist procedure, you must chew your food slowly and carefully before swallowing to control your portion intake. You will also work with a nutrition counselor to develop a healthy meal plan that delivers an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. Because the AspireAssist limits calorie absorption, you will need to use nutritional supplements to reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies.

Regular maintenance

As you lose weight with the AspireAssist, you must visit your doctor as often as needed to have the tube shortened, which may be inconvenient for some people. Additionally, the medical device will lock up and stop working after 115 aspiration sessions, which is normally between five and six weeks if you aspirate three times per day. This requires you to visit your doctor regularly for replacement parts. The regular maintenance involved with the AspireAssist may not work for those who have extremely busy lifestyles.

What happens during the AspireAssist procedure?

Patients are given mild anesthesia so they can be sedated for the entirety of the procedure, which takes roughly 15 minutes to complete in an outpatient setting. After you are sedated, your doctor makes a tiny incision on your abdomen for the insertion of the tube and valve that make up the AspireAssist weight-loss system. Many patients are able to return home within one to two hours following the procedure, and require very little downtime from work and other activities.

AspireAssist: Tube placement procedure

AspireAssist: Tube Placement Procedure

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What happens after I have the AspireAssist procedure?

Chewing your food slowly and thoroughly is critical to making the AspireAssist work, since food particles must be small enough to pass through the tubing during aspiration. You must aspirate 20 to 30 minutes after every meal, three times per day, to experience the best possible weight-loss results.

The AspireAssist is combined with lifestyle counseling to help you adjust to a healthier lifestyle that involves improved nutrition, smaller portion sizes, and regular exercise. You’ll be meeting with your lifestyle counselor and doctor regularly to discuss your weight-loss goals and progress, and to make changes to your nutrition and fitness regimens as needed to promote further weight loss.

The lifestyle counseling that is paired with the AspireAssist weight-loss system can provide you with the education, support, and motivation you need to continue losing weight long after you stop using the system. Lifestyle counseling may also help you overcome certain emotional and situational triggers that can lead to overeating, such as stress and spending time around family members who demonstrate poor nutrition. Identifying and learning how to manage these triggers can help you avoid situations that lead to unhealthy food choices and overeating.

How can I make the most out of my AspireAssist procedure?

The AspireAssist may help you reach your weight-loss goals, but is not to be viewed as a cure for weight loss. To get the most out of the AspireAssist, you must stay active, exercise regularly, and make healthy food choices that drive weight loss. As you lose weight, you can reduce the number of times you aspirate per day and eventually have the device removed completely.

Use the tips provided by your doctor and lifestyle counselor to seamlessly incorporate the AspireAssist into your day-to-day routine. Having a solid routine that works great for you can make you feel more confident about using the AspireAssist for weight loss. Making regular appointments with your doctor and lifestyle counselor can help you stay motivated to maintain long-term weight loss.

Am I an ideal candidate for AspireAssist?

The AspireAssist weight-loss procedure is ideal for those who are aged 22 years or older and have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35. This weight-loss system is intended for long-term use combined with lifestyle counseling and ongoing medical monitoring, which means ideal candidates must be willing to attend regular appointments for the maintenance of the AspireAssist and to receive continuous medical care and support.

The AspireAssist may not be right for you if you have medical conditions such as anemia, blood clotting disorders, disorders that interfere with swallowing and digestion, or an eating disorder like bulimia or binge eating disorder.

Use our search directory to find a bariatric surgeon near you who can help you lose weight using the AspireAssist. A doctor can help you determine whether you’re an ideal candidate for AspireAssist or another evidence-based weight-loss procedure that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

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