An interesting article on Stat News featured comments from both proponents and detractors. Here are some of them:
We just don’t have enough data to evaluate how well it works, and how safe it is. It could turn out to be an effective option for some people just as easily as it could become yet another failed approach to weight loss.
I am highly doubtful that it will be an effective or durable weight loss tool.
I have worked with the AspireAssist device since 2009, helping refine its design and test it in clinical trials. It works, and I have seen many people swear by it because it helped them lose weight when nothing else had.
They [the study’s authors] indicate that 26 percent of the volunteers who received the AspireAssist device withdrew from the 52-week study before it ended. That means over one-quarter of people could pay for the device but end up getting no benefit from it. Top reasons cited for withdrawal were lack of time or motivation. Further, 93 of the 111 subjects experienced 228 adverse events in the first year. Only approximately half of the volunteers continued using the device after 52 weeks.
While long-term outcomes have not yet been published, the reported one-year results were extremely positive. The AspireAssist helped highly satisfied volunteers lose an average of 15% of their starting weights.
How significant is a 15% weight loss? If a woman is 5’5” tall and weighs 300 pounds, her BMI would be 49.9 classifying her as severely morbidly obese. A 15% (45 pound) weight loss results in a weight of 255 pounds and a BMI of 42.4 leaving her with continued severe morbid obesity. Will it keep working after a year?
According to WebMD, the AspireAssist “including the device placement, lifestyle counseling, monitoring, and follow-up, is expected to cost about $8,000 to $13,000 for the first year.” How much of this would be paid by insurance is not clear.
Is it a worthwhile tool to fight obesity? I’m not sure.
Here’s what Stephen Colbert had to say.