It’s the first new obesity device to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in more than seven years. Yet doctors admit they aren’t quite sure how it works.
The surgically implanted device, called Maestro, is designed to interrupt hunger signals from the brain to the stomach, and it’s manually controlled.
“The Maestro Rechargeable System, the first FDA-approved obesity device since 2007, is approved to treat patients aged 18 and older who have not been able to lose weight with a weight loss program, and who have a body mass index of 35 to 45 with at least one other obesity-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes,” the FDA said in a statement.
Don’t look for it in stores – it’s likely only going to be offered at specialized clinics with trained surgeons. And don’t expect health insurance to pay for it any time soon, cautions NBC’s Diet & Nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom.
“Insurance likely, as with every new apparatus or pill, is not going to cover this,” Fernstrom says.
The device is implanted under the skin of the abdomen, with attachments placed just where the esophagus meets the stomach. It’s designed to interfere with the abdominal branch of the vagus nerve, a central nerve that controls the heart and digestive tract.
Wow! Really? I don’t know what to say about this. I think that if a doctor told me that I was in such bad shape that I needed one of these devices to lose weight, I would be motivated enough to start losing the weight on my own. This is a scary idea for me. I don’t think it would work. Does the device take away the patient’s responsibility for their bad habits? I think that just like with gastric by-pass surgery, if the patient doesn’t follow the doctor’s advice and their lifestyle doesn’t change, this pacemaker won’t work either.