Stomach tap

A device that allows people to empty a portion of their stomach contents into a toilet after a meal has just got the go-ahead from the US Food and Drug Administration. The device is approved for use by people who are severely obese, defined as having a body mass index of over 35 kg/m2.

The stomach-churning device involves a tube being placed into the stomach in a short surgical procedure. The end of the tube contains a valve that lies flush against the skin.

Normally it is kept closed, but after meals, the person can connect the valve to another tube to drain about a third of their partially digested food into the toilet. It cannot remove more food than this, because the end of the internal tube is positioned higher than most of the stomach’s contents.

Manufacturer Aspire Bariatrics says users need to chew their food well and eat more slowly to stop the 6 millimetre tube from getting blocked, and that this in itself helps reduce overeating.

The device, called AspireAssist, has a safety feature within the valve that means it can only be used three times a day for up to six weeks. After this time it stops working and part of the device must be replaced.

 [Via: newscientist.com/Clare Wilson]

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