Thursday, June 26, 2008
Medical Reports: Fat Blocker
Gastric bypass surgery has helped many people lose weight. But it is considered a last ditch measure. Now a new procedure being studied right here in South Florida offers weight loss without such drastic measures. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how this Fat Blocker works.
WSVN -- Ralph Moccia has always been a big guy, but one day he started to gain a lot of weight.
Ralph Moccia: "Twenty pounds a month just started rolling on, rolling on, couldn't really understand it."
Ralph was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a painful disease of the joints that kept him from being active.
After climbing to 344 pounds, he decided to undergo bariatric surgery, losing 130 pounds.
Ralph Moccia: "I went from a 4-X to a medium."
Dr. Raul Rosenthal, Cleveland Clinic Florida: "Sixty percent of Americans are considered overweight and five percent of Americans are surgical candidates."
According to bariatric surgeon Raul Rosenthal, gastric bypass has helped thousands of obese people lose weight, but a new study at South Florida's Cleveland Clinic is offering an alternative weight loss procedure without cutting the stomach.
It's called V-Bloc therapy. Here's how it works:
An electrode is implanted around the vagus nerve. Then patients wear a belt underneath their clothes, which activates the implanted device in the vagus nerve, having it send signals to the brain that the stomach is full.
Dr. Raul Rosenthal: "Usually, those nerves are the ones that bring to our brain the sensation of hunger, so by blocking them, there is no hunger sensation."
Patients do have to re-charge the battery every night.
Dr. Raul Rosenthal: "It constantly delivers this tiny stimuli and takes away the appetite of the patient."
The FDA hasn't approved this procedure yet, but studies outside the U.S. are promising.
Dr. Raul Rosenthal: "At six months, patients are losing 22 percent of their excess body weight. It's a very impressive number for a device that works without changing your anatomy."
Ralph Moccia: "Tonight we're going to have lamb chops."
Ralph says weight loss surgery isn't a magic bullet. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the lifestyle changes, but, he says, the health benefits are worth it.
Ralph Moccia: "You have to embrace it, you have to make it part of your life."
The five-year study is free to patients who qualify.
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