AspireAssist Device - 14 Ways It Will Affect You - Bariatric Surgery Source

ASPIREASSIST DEVICE - 14 Ways It Will Affect You

Reviewed by:  

Dr. Vafa Shayani

Last Updated:  

09/26/2017

The AspireAssist is a surgically implanted weight loss device that is used to empty about one-third of the contents of your stomach shortly after you eat.

As a result, patients:

  • Absorb fewer calories
  • Lose about one-third of their excess weight in the first year

This page will cover everything you need to know about the device.

01How the AspireAssist Device Works
  • Patient attaches device to abdominal skin-port and empties one-third of stomach contents after eating
  • Less food reaching small intestine results in less calorie & mineral absorption

aspireassist device
aspireassist device
1

Insert Instruments

Endoscope inserted into stomach through mouth, & wire inserted into stomach through small abdominal incision.

aspireassist device
2

Place A-Tube

Endoscope grabs wire. Both endoscope and wire pulled back out of mouth. “A-Tube” attached to wire and pulled back into your stomach and out the abdominal incision until tip of tube exits incision.

aspireassist device
3

A-Tube pulled into stomach

‘A-Tube' attached to wire and pulled back into your stomach and out the abdominal incision until tip of tube exits incision.

aspireassist device
4

Attach Skin-Port

After incision heals (~7 days), surgeon attaches Skin-Port to outside of skin.

aspireassist device
5

Feel full sooner, absorb fewer minerals, lose weight

Patient empties one-third of stomach contents after eating. This leads less calorie and mineral absorption and long-term weight loss.

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The insertion procedure is relatively minor compared to some of the more involved weight loss surgery procedures, like gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. The procedure can be done in as little as 15 minutes under twilight sedation (you will still be relatively conscious).

Steps to perform the AspireAssist procedure:

  1. An endoscope is inserted in your mouth and passed through to your stomach.
  2. A small 1 cm (½ inch) incision is made in your abdomen and, using a small needle, a wire is passed through the incision into your stomach.
  3. The endoscope is used to “grab” the wire, and then both the endoscope and wire are pulled back out of your mouth.
  4. The “A-Tube” (see below) from your AspireAssist device is then attached to the wire, and both are pulled back into your stomach and out your incision until the tip of the tube exits your abdomen.
  5. After your incision has healed (probably about 7 days) you will need to go back to the doctor for a very quick procedure to attach the Skin-Port (see below).

Once your tube is inserted you should be headed home in an hour or two.

This video explains the insertion process:

The Two Weeks After Surgery

Over the next two weeks you will go through a couple different stages before your device will be 100% ready for use:

No NSAIDS! (Take Tylenol, not Aspirin)

Even though this procedure is minimally invasive, you were still “under the knife”, and therefore are still at some risk of bleeding. As a result, you shouldn’t take anything that will thin your blood. There is a set of pain medications called “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” or NSAIDS that, along with reducing pain, also thin your blood.

These drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Do not take any of these after your surgery. If your doctor did not prescribe any specific pain medications, and you are feeling some discomfort, take Tylenol only.

If pain persists, contact your doctor.

Attach the Final Component (Day 7)

Once your incision has had an opportunity to heal, you will go back to the doctor for the final part of your procedure – the attaching of the connector or “button”. This is what will act as the junction between the internal and external parts of your device. The attachment process is completely painless and will take just a few minutes.

Graduation Day (Day 14)

Two weeks after your initial procedure you will be 100% ready to use the device. Once your bariatric team has shown you how to use it properly, you will take home your new kit, which includes all the components of your new device.

You will also need to be on a special diet for a couple weeks, explained in the Diet & Life After section below.

AspireAssist Device Description

The AspireAssist device is made of several different components that can be broken into two categories, those inside your body, and those outside your body.

Internal Components

  • A-Tube – Much like a feeding tube, the silicone “A-tube” connects your stomach to the Skin-port located on the outside of your abdomen.
  • Skin-Port™ – The Skin-Port™ is the opening between your external device and the tube leading to your stomach. It also prevents the tube in your stomach from migrating into your stomach.
  • Emergency Clamp – this component prevents any leakage of stomach contents if the A-tube and Skin-Port become disconnected.

External Components

  • Connector – This part of the device is the lock between the internal and external components of your device. It allows the Companion component (see below) to connect to the Skin-Port and A-tube inside your body.
  • Companion™ – The companion is the “hub” of the AspireAssist. Through the Connector, the Companion connects to your Skin-port, your tubing, and the water reservoir. A latch on the companion allows you to control the outflow of your food, as well as the draining and rinsing process using the water Reservoir (see below).
  • Tubing Set – Through its three main components (the T-Fitting, the Connector tube, and the Drain tube), the tubing set connects your Reservoir to the “Companion”, which connects to a tube for the food to exit your stomach and into a waste container (usually the toilet).
  • Reservoir – This flexible water bottle is used to flush your stomach, to help along aspiration, and to clean the various components of your device.
  • Lanyard – The lanyard rests on the back of your neck and helps you support the weight of the device during aspiration.

02Weight Loss
  • About one-third of excess weight in the first year

aspireassist device

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

100%

Excess Weight Remains

Procedure Done

From Day 1: Feel Full Sooner While Eating

Continued Weight Loss

More Data Needed to Confirm Average Weight Loss Beyond 1 Year

aspireassist device

0 months

100%

Excess Weight Remains

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is XXX.

AspireAssist is only available for patients with a BMI of 35 or higher.

However, you do qualify for other types of weight loss procedures.

Click here to learn your options.

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The Aspire Assist has been shown to be an effective weight loss option.

The most comprehensive study to date found that the average patient lost 31.5% of their excess weight in the first year (1). This would mean a patient who is 100 pounds overweight can expect to lose about 32 pounds.

These numbers should be viewed with cautious optimism. The AspireAssist is a relatively new device, so there has been limited research compared to other weight loss procedures, especially regarding long-term weight loss success and the positive effect on obesity-related health problems.

References: (2) (3) (4) (5)

Click to View Research

Participants
Participants
176
176
22
22
18
18
Participants
% Excess Weight Lost
176
31.5%
22
40.8%
18
49%
Participants
Timeframe
176
1 Year
22
6 months
18
1 Year
Participants
Year
176
2015 (6)
22
2015 (7)
18
2013 (8)
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03Health Benefits
  • Positive effects seem likely, but too early to confirm

aspireassist device

SELECT A BENEFIT

RESET
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Because it is so new, no one has conducted a long-term study of AspireAssist’s health benefits. But the studies that have been conducted are pointing in a positive direction.

For example, one study showed improvements in:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidemia

But there wasn’t enough across-the-board improvement in patients to be sure that the device was the cause of the improvement (9).

In another study, for the 7 out of the 22 AspireAssist patients who had diabetes (10):

  • Average resting blood glucose levels dropped from 9.4mmol/L to 7.4mmol/L
  • 3 out of 5 on medication reduced or stopped their regimen

Both studies also saw improvements in quality of life scores for patients, which usually indicates the presence of positive health benefits.

04Qualify
  • 22+ years old
  • 35 - 55 body mass index (BMI) required
  • Click here to calculate your BMI

aspireassist device

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

35-55

AspireAssist
Required BMI

  • Below 18.5Underweight

  • 18.5 – 24.9Healthy Weight

  • 25.0 – 29.9Overweight

  • 30.0 – 34.9Obese

  • 35.0 – 39.9Severely Obese

  • 40.0 – 49.9Morbidly Obese

  • 50 or higherSuper Obese

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To qualify for the AspireAssist you must:

  • Have a BMI between 35 and 55
  • Be at least 22 years old
  • Have attempted losing weight using diet and exercise alone

The first meeting you have with your doctor about the AspireAssist will be to determine if you qualify for the procedure and whether it’s for you.

During your initial consultation, your doctor will:

  • Ask questions about your medical history, like “what medications are you on” or “have you had any other bariatric procedures”?
  • Conduct a medical exam and order blood work to check for certain relevant conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Ask questions about past or current eating disorders. There is some concern that the AspireAssist is “medically assisted bulimia” (although not everyone agrees with this assessment). As a result, if a patient is at risk of or has already developed an eating disorder, they will not qualify for this device.

AspireAssist and Eating Disorders

There has been some controversy regarding AspireAssist and it’s similarities to eating disorders like bulimia and binge eating disorder.

For some, the “purge” similarities between AspireAssist and bulimia are obvious. Others point out that before someone is cleared for their procedure they must be psychologically evaluated. Patients who are predisposed to bulimia will not be approved to have the device.

If you are concerned about AspireAssist and eating disorders consult with your doctor, who will be able to help you make the best decision based on your personal circumstances.

Following is the full list of things that may prevent you from getting the Aspire Assist device (called “contraindications”):

  • Certain types of abdominal surgery
  • Certain ulcers
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension (Blood Pressure greater than 160/100)
  • History of pulmonary or cardiovascular disease
  • Coagulation disorders
  • Anemia
  • Pregnancy or lactation
  • Bulimia or binge eating disorder
  • Night eating syndrome
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Any physical, mental, or psychological illness that could interfere with therapy compliance
  • High risk from the endoscopic procedure

What about Pregnancy?

Because of the growth of your abdomen during pregnancy, it will not be possible to have an AspireAssist device during pregnancy. If you are pregnant (congratulations!), and already have the device inserted, contact your doctor right away – your A-tube will need to be removed ASAP.

If you are planning on becoming pregnant, discuss this with your doctor so you and your team can develop a plan.

05Insurance
  • Usually not covered

While you may be able to get certain parts of your procedure covered, like some of your pre-op exams, AspireAssist is not currently covered by any insurance plans. However, Aspire Bariatrics, Inc. is working with insurance companies to get the device covered (11).

When speaking to your bariatric surgeon, ask about your options regarding insurance. It might be that they can help you get insurance to cover certain parts of your procedure.

Surgeon’s offices are experts in navigating the confusing insurance process, so let them take the lead.

06Cost Without Insurance
  • Total Cost: $8,000 to $13,000, on average
  • Financing available

aspireassist device

ASPIREASSIST
LOAN ESTIMATOR

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5

Years

Time to Pay Off Procedure

Disclaimer

This tool provides estimates only. Please contact your insurance company to verify your actual loan estimator.

Your Location

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about discounts:

Contact a Surgeon for a Specific Quote

DISCOUNTS
6 Discounts to Ask Your Surgeon About

Talk with your surgeon about whether any of these discounts are available:

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At between $8,000 and $13,000, the total cost of AspireAssist is relatively low compared to the other weight loss surgery procedures.

The costs include:

  • The device
  • Insertion
  • Behavioral coaching
  • Follow-up doctor visits

If you do have insurance that covers weight loss surgery, the following procedures will be less expensive (around $3,500):

  • Gastric sleeve
  • Gastric bypass
  • Duodenal switch
  • Lap-Band

Contact an AspireAssist surgeon for a free cost quote.

Financing Options for AspireAssist

See below for the various options for financing your AspireAssist procedure.

1.  Secured Medical Loans

A secured medical loan is a type of loan from a bank or credit union that you must back with some sort of collateral (a home being the most common form of collateral).

2.  Unsecured Medical Loans

Unsecured medical loans allow you to borrow money without putting up collateral (see secured medical loans above). But, the tradeoff is you will pay a higher interest rate on the loan, making unsecured loans ultimately more “expensive” than a secured loan over the long run.

3.  Payment Plan Through Surgeon

Most surgeons offer some kind of payment plan to help you make treatment more affordable. Definitely add this to your list of questions when interviewing surgeons.

4.  Friends & Family

The option of asking your friends and family to help you finance your surgery will obviously vary substantially from person to person. If thinking about this, the best thing you can do is look at the decision from as many angles as you can, and then make the best decision you know how.

5.  Retirement Plan Loans

This may be an option for you, depending on what your retirement plan allows for. Contact your HR department or retirement planner and ask if your retirement plan allows for hardship withdrawals. But, make sure to crunch all the numbers before you do this. It’s very possible using retirement savings to invest in your health will make financial sense in the long term, but be 100% sure you’re comfortable with this trade off before spending your hard earned retirement savings.

6.  Permanent Life Insurance Loans

This may be an option for you, depending on what your retirement plan allows for. Contact your HR department or retirement planner and ask if your retirement plan allows for hardship withdrawals. But, make sure to crunch all the numbers before you do this. It’s very possible using retirement savings to invest in your health will make financial sense in the long term, but be 100% sure you’re comfortable with this trade off before spending your hard earned retirement savings.

07Recovery
  • Time in Surgical Center: 1 - 2 hours
  • Time Off Work: 2 - 3 days
  • Full Recovery: Within 7 days
  • Pain: Manageable - same as any laparoscopic surgery

aspireassist device

AspireAssist RECOVERY

Surgical Center: 1-2 Hours

Most AspireAssist patients return home within a couple of hours.

Recovery

You should be able to return to work and your regular routine in about 3 days. You may still be feeling some discomfort, so do not to push your boundaries too quickly.

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Recovery from the Aspire Assist procedure is a relatively quick 2 to 3 days (12). Some more intensive procedures, like the gastric sleeve, take up to two weeks to get back to work.

After two weeks, you will return to the doctor’s office where they will teach you how to use the device properly and then send you home with your new device.

Initial Recovery (Day 1 – 3)

Even though this is a minor procedure, it is still a surgical procedure and will require some healing time. While the area around the tube is healing, you may experience some initial discomfort. Your doctor will prescribe pain meds as well as antibiotics to help in the healing process.

Your doctor will also give you specific instructions to follow for the next several days, like when and how to shower, how to take care of your incision to prevent infection, and when to take your meds.

Back to Work (Day 3 to 7)

You should be able to return to work and your regular routine in about 3 days. You may still be feeling some discomfort, so do not to push your boundaries too quickly.

08Diet & Life After
  • 14-Day transition diet
  • No specific food restrictions
  • Must chew food throughly for maximum benefit
  • Healthy diet will lead to better results

aspireassist device
FOOD & DRINK

While there are no "restricted" foods with AspireAssist, the healthier your diet, the more weight you will lose. You also need to chew your food thoroughly to ensure that it can pass through the tube that connects the inside of your stomach to the device.

VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS

Because you are removing contents from your stomach, there is a chance you will miss out on some of the vital nutrients you need. For this reason, your nutrient and electrolyte levels will be monitored as part of your follow-up doctor visits. If your doctor notices any problems, you may need to start taking a multivitamin or adjust your fluid intake.

YOUR BRAIN

Rapid weight loss may affect relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and strangers - both positively and negatively. Talk with your surgeons psychologist and attend weight loss surgery support group meetings before your procedure so you know what to expect.

EXERCISE

Exercise is almost as important as diet for long-term success. Plan to exercise 2.5 hours per week spread out over 3 or 4 days. Patients who do so lose more weight and report a much higher quality of life.

FOOD & DRINK
VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
YOUR BRAIN
EXERCISE
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1.  Recommended Initial Diet

Because you need to chew your food so thoroughly for aspiration to work properly, it can take some effort to make the change to your new eating habits. With this in mind, you will be asked to ease into eating full meals.

Week 1 of Aspiration

For the first week you will start off with foods that do not require any chewing. You can use a blender or food processor to puree the food if needed.

According to AspireAssist, some examples of foods appropriate for this stage include (13):

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables
Smoothies
Smoothies
Smooth Soups (no chunks)
Smooth Soups (no chunks)
Pureed vegetables or fruits, such as applesauce
Pureed vegetables or fruits, such as applesauce
Fruits and Vegetables
Grains and Carbohydrates
Smoothies
Mashed Potatoes
Smooth Soups (no chunks)
Oatmeal
Pureed vegetables or fruits, such as applesauce
Rice
Fruits and Vegetables
Protein
Smoothies
Finely minced meats
Smooth Soups (no chunks)
Cottage Cheese
Pureed vegetables or fruits, such as applesauce
Yogurt

Week 2 of Aspiration

For the second week you will be eating foods that require a minimal amount of chewing. Aspiration in this stage should still be relatively easy, but if you are experiencing any clogging this is an indication that you need to chew your food more thoroughly.

And, keep in mind, you will need to chew your food EVEN more when you are back to a full diet. Use this time to build good “chewing habits”. Slowing your eating down may be an adjustment that requires some work, so good habits now will lead to an easier transition later.

According to AspireAssist, some examples of foods appropriate for this state include (14):

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables
Well-cooked or finely chopped veggies
Well-cooked or finely chopped veggies
Soft fruits such as banana, watermelon, pears, or raspberries
Soft fruits such as banana, watermelon, pears, or raspberries
Finely chopped fruits
Finely chopped fruits
Canned fruits
Canned fruits
Fruits and Vegetables
Grains and Carbohydrates
Well-cooked or finely chopped veggies
Cereal
Soft fruits such as banana, watermelon, pears, or raspberries
Soft breads cut into small pieces
Finely chopped fruits
Well-cooked pasta
Canned fruits
Casseroles with ground meats and finely chopped vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables
Protein
Well-cooked or finely chopped veggies
Ground Meats like meatloaf or meatballs
Soft fruits such as banana, watermelon, pears, or raspberries
Scrambled Eggs
Finely chopped fruits
Soft fish (salmon or tilapia)
Canned fruits
Tuna, Egg, or Chicken Salad – but no Celery

2.  Using the AspireAssist Device

About 20 or 30 minutes after each meal you will need to find some time to aspire (empty your stomach). This usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes (it may take slightly longer until you get used to using the device) and should empty about 30% of the contents of your stomach.

Also, it is important for aspiration that you chew your food thoroughly. If you don’t, the food may not fit through your device’s tube. Chewing your food into small pieces will result in the most weight loss.

To make sure you have completed aspiration, squeeze a little water into your stomach – if the water comes out relatively clear you will know your stomach is empty.

Here is a video of how to assemble and use your device:

3.  Cleaning your Device

Cleaning your device on a regular basis is important to maintain your device’s health. You will need to clean it at least once daily, plus a more thorough cleaning every week or two. Please see below for cleaning tips:

Daily Cleaning

First, a couple of “don’ts”:

  • Do NOT wash the device while it is attached to you
  • Do NOT wash your device in the dishwasher or with extremely hot water. Hot water can damage some of the components of your device.

For proper cleaning of your device:

  1. Fill the Reservoir with lukewarm water, adding a couple of drops of liquid dish soap.
  2. Attach the Reservoir and Tubing Set to the Companion.
  3. Close your Drain Clamp then hold the Connector over a sink or toilet.
  4. Squeeze the Reservoir to run the soapy water through the apparatus. Do this until about ⅓ of the water in the reservoir has been used.
  5. Open your Drain Clamp and squeeze the rest of the water through the drain tube and into the sink or toilet.
  6. Rinse the soap out of the Reservoir.
  7. Refill the Reservoir with water and WITHOUT soap. Repeat step 4 and 5.
  8. Break down the entire apparatus and rinse with warm water, being sure to remove all the soap/bubbles.
  9. Wipe down the apparatus until everything is dry and store.

Occasional Cleaning

Every week or two you should thoroughly clean your device. You can either use a vinegar-water or a baking soda-water mix.

For vinegar, take the Companion, Reservoir, and Tubes and place them in a tub of half water and half vinegar. Let soak overnight and then rinse with water before using.

For baking soda, take the Companion, Reservoir, and Tubes and place them in a tub of water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and let soak overnight. Rinse with water before use.

4.  Follow Up Doctor Visits

The AspireAssist port is flush on your skin, so as you lose weight your tube will need to be adjusted. If you don’t do this, your tube will eventually begin to bend and push against the walls of your stomach (or “migrate”).

This tube shortening may require several doctors visits after the device is initially inserted, depending on how much weight you lose and how fast you lose it. This may continue for up to a year, but will get less frequent over time as you settle into your new weight range.

5.  Behavioral Counseling

The AspireAssist port is flush on your skin, so as you lose weight your tube will need to be adjusted. If you don’t do this, your tube will eventually begin to bend and push against the walls of your stomach (or “migrate”).

This tube shortening may require several doctors visits after the device is initially inserted, depending on how much weight you lose and how fast you lose it. This may continue for up to a year, but will get less frequent over time as you settle into your new weight range.

6.  Diet – Striking the Right Balance

The AspireAssist port is flush on your skin, so as you lose weight your tube will need to be adjusted. If you don’t do this, your tube will eventually begin to bend and push against the walls of your stomach (or “migrate”).

This tube shortening may require several doctors visits after the device is initially inserted, depending on how much weight you lose and how fast you lose it. This may continue for up to a year, but will get less frequent over time as you settle into your new weight range.

7.  Getting Enough Nutrients and Fluids

Because you are removing contents from your stomach, there is a chance you will miss out on some of the vital nutrients you need. For this reason, your nutrient and electrolyte levels will be monitored as part of your follow-up doctor visits. If your doctor notices any problems, you may need to start taking a multivitamin or adjust your fluid intake.

8.  Relationships After Weight Loss

Over time, many patients experience a significant improvement in the quality of their sex life after weight loss surgery (15). This improvement is related largely to changes in the way a patient perceives their body and the resulting increases in self-confidence.

Relationship changes are another great reason to participate in a bariatric surgery support group. These support groups can provide insight and encouragement throughout your weight loss journey.

See our Relationships After Weight Loss page for real stories about relationships after weight loss… and please share your advice and experiences as well.

09Downsides
  • Early data shows low risk of complications
  • 96.4% of patients do NOT experience "serious adverse events"

aspireassist device
Complications
  • Extremely low rate of serious complications (~96 out of 100 patients experience no serious complications)
  • Most serious complications reported to date have been resolved within a few days
Side Effects
  • Skin irritation, swelling or other issues around abdominal skin port (easily treated)
  • Mild abdominal pain after procedure (treated with pain medication if needed)
  • Nausea or vomiting (temporary)
  • Click below for full list of potential issues (all are easily treated)
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In the few AspireAssist studies that have been conducted, there have only been a small percentage of complications reported.

The AspireAssist has received FDA approval in the US and the CE mark in the EU. This means that authorities in both the United States and European Union have determined the AspireAssist is within the normal safety bounds (16) (17).

In the most comprehensive study to date, out of the 111 patients who took part, 4 patients (3.6%) experienced “Serious Adverse Events” (SAE), such as a small opening forming between the lining of the stomach and the tube leading to the Skin-port. None of these events lasted more than three days, and there were no long-term effects (18).

1.  View Research Summary

Side Effect Experienced
Side Effect Experienced
Peritonitis
Peritonitis
Abdominal Pain
Abdominal Pain
A-Tube Replaced (due to normal wear)
A-Tube Replaced (due to normal wear)
Non-bleeding ulcer
Non-bleeding ulcer
Side Effect Experienced
Number of Patients
Peritonitis
1 of 111
Abdominal Pain
1 of 111
A-Tube Replaced (due to normal wear)
1 of 111
Non-bleeding ulcer
1 out of 111
Side Effect Experienced
Possible Harm Experienced
Peritonitis
Inflammation of the interior wall of the abdomen that can result in infection and pain
Abdominal Pain
Pain near the tube
A-Tube Replaced (due to normal wear)
Inherent harm associated with any endoscopic procedure
Non-bleeding ulcer
Sore on inside of stomach which results in pain
Side Effect Experienced
When the Side Effect Occurred
Peritonitis
3 days after Tube insertion
Abdominal Pain
Day of Tube insertion
A-Tube Replaced (due to normal wear)
54 weeks after initial Tube insertion
Non-bleeding ulcer
53 weeks after initial Tube insertion

In addition to Serious Adverse Events, a number of less serious complications and side effects were observed in the above study, including:

  • Skin irritation
  • Swelling
  • Infection around stoma site (the site where your A-tube exits your abdomen)

2.  View Non-Serious Issues List

Following are the non-serious side effects seen in the study referenced above:

Side Effect/Event
Side Effect/Event
Granulation tissue around stoma (where the abdomen and tube connect)
Granulation tissue around stoma (where the abdomen and tube connect)
Abdominal pain after procedure
Abdominal pain after procedure
Nausea or vomiting
Nausea or vomiting
Irritation around stoma
Irritation around stoma
Abdominal discomfort
Abdominal discomfort
Possible infection
Possible infection
Abdominal pain – after procedure has time to heal
Abdominal pain – after procedure has time to heal
Upset Stomach
Upset Stomach
Swelling around the stoma
Swelling around the stoma
Fluid leaking around stoma
Fluid leaking around stoma
Changes in bowel habits
Changes in bowel habits
Low potassium in the blood
Low potassium in the blood
Accidental pulling or bumping of the A-tube
Accidental pulling or bumping of the A-tube
Bleeding at the stoma
Bleeding at the stoma
Fungal infection at the stoma
Fungal infection at the stoma
Side Effect/Event
Number of Patients
Granulation tissue around stoma (where the abdomen and tube connect)
45 of 111
Abdominal pain after procedure
41 of 111
Nausea or vomiting
19 of 111
Irritation around stoma
19 of 111
Abdominal discomfort
18 out 111
Possible infection
15 of 111
Abdominal pain – after procedure has time to heal
8 of 111
Upset Stomach
7 of 111
Swelling around the stoma
6 of 111
Fluid leaking around stoma
5 of 111
Changes in bowel habits
5 of 111
Low potassium in the blood
4 of 111
Accidental pulling or bumping of the A-tube
3 of 111
Bleeding at the stoma
2 of 111
Fungal infection at the stoma
2 of 111
Side Effect/Event
Possible Harm Experienced / Treatment
Granulation tissue around stoma (where the abdomen and tube connect)
44 subjects experienced mild irritation that was treated with silver nitrate sticks or medicated lotion.
Abdominal pain after procedure
Pain in the stomach or stoma. All mild pain, sometimes treated with narcotic painkillers
Nausea or vomiting
Caused by sedation medicine, usually resolved without treatment or anti-nausea medication
Irritation around stoma
Redness or puffiness around the stoma, resolved without treatment or adjustments in stoma site care
Abdominal discomfort
Resolved without treatment
Possible infection
Pus or ooze from stoma site, sometimes occupied by fever, resolved with antibiotics
Abdominal pain – after procedure has time to heal
Longer term abdominal pain, treated with medication
Upset Stomach
Includes acid reflux, heartburn, hiccups, and belching. Resolved with over the counter antacids
Swelling around the stoma
Redness or puffiness around the stoma, resolved with healing of stoma and proper site care
Fluid leaking around stoma
Resolved with healing stoma and reducing movement/tension on the A-Tube
Changes in bowel habits
Could be constipation or diarrhea. Resolved with dietary changes and over the counter medicine
Low potassium in the blood
May cause cramping in legs or feet, treated with potassium supplements
Accidental pulling or bumping of the A-tube
Resolved by protecting the Skin-port from contact
Bleeding at the stoma
Resolved by treatment of granulation tissue and proper site care
Fungal infection at the stoma
Resolved with topical antifungal lotion

Taking Care of Your Skin-Port and Stoma Site

One of the best things you can do to minimize your risk of common side effects is to take extra good care of your Skin-Port and Stoma Site.

The #1 rule: except when in the shower or bath, always keep the area dry.

After aspiration, wipe it down. After taking a shower, pat-dry the skin underneath your port. And do not use any creams or powders unless specifically instructed by your doctor.

When taking a shower or bath, gently wash the Skin-port and stoma area with mild soap and warm water.

These habits will make you a lot less susceptible to some of the common minor issues associated with the AspireAssist.

3.  Common Malfunctions and Troubleshooting

There are a few common issues that you may experience with the AspireAssist Device, including irritation, clogging, and breaking.

Irritation

It is possible that the skin around and underneath your Skin-Port could become irritated, or even infected. If your skin is swollen, irritated, or painful, call your doctor right away. An infection can prove to be a serious matter if untreated.

Clogging

This is a common problem that will happen to many people with the AspireAssist. If you do not thoroughly and completely chew your food it could be large enough to clog your A-tube. If your flow is interrupted, fill the Reservoir with warm water and squeeze the water in short bursts into your stomach to try to dislodge the stuck food.

Do NOT squeeze too much water into your stomach though, because it could eventually make you feel very uncomfortable. If you cannot dislodge the food after a couple tries, give it a couple hours then try again.

This will happen more rarely, but if you still cannot dislodge the food after 24 hours, contact your doctor. You may have to go in to the doctor to get it unclogged, which is usually a quick process.

Breakage or Failure

If any part of your device breaks or no longer fits together, contact your doctor right away. Using the device incorrectly could result in complications and your doctor’s office will provide you with replacement parts.

10Removal
  • Simple removal procedure, if desired
  • Can be done any time

AspireAssist can be reversed, and removal is a relatively simple procedure which can be done at any time.

Some AspireAssist users do so well on the device they remove it after meeting their target weight. Most of these patients stop aspirating for three months, without removing the device, just to make sure they can stick to their new lifestyle changes.

The removal procedure is similar to the insertion process and takes about 15 minutes. Most patients return home the same day.

11AspireAssist Vs. 6 Other Weight Loss Procedures
  • Less short-term weight loss and health improvement than more "invasive" procedures
  • Quicker recovery and lower risk of complications than more "invasive" procedures
  • One of 4 procedures that is reversible - One of 2 procedures that has no specific dietary restrictions
  • One of 3 procedures not covered by insurance - 2nd lowest cost for cash-pay patients

Picture of Procedure

Video of Procedure

Avg Excess Weight Loss

Health Improvement

BMI Needed to Qualify

Covered by Insurance?

Financing Available

Avg Total Cost With Insurance (U.S.)

Avg Total Cost Without Insurance (U.S.)

Procedure Type

Years of Peer-Reviewed Research

Device Placed In Body?

Reversible?

Time Until Removed

Path of Digestion

Procedure Time (Approx)

Complication Rate

Survival Rate

Hospital Stay (Avg)

Recovery Time
(Avg Back to Work)

Difficulty Swallowing?

Digestion & Bowel Movement Problems

Diet Risks

Food Cravings Decreased

Lifelong Vitamins Required

Qualified Surgeons

Patient Guides

AspireAssist studies are currently limited, but one study showed 31.5% excess weight loss after 4 years.
Early AspireAssist studies indicate a positive impact on diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, but more reasearch is needed to confirm.
35 - 55, regardless of health problems
AspireAssist is not usually covered by insurance
AspireAssist financing is available, subject to credit approval

$10,500

AspireAssist is not usually covered by insurance.

$10,500

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
The AspireAssist procedure passes a tube through the mouth and down into the stomach. The tube is then pulled through the abdominal wall through a small incision.
AspireAssist is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
A silicone “A-tube” connects the stomach to the Skin-Port™ located on the outside of your abdomen. The Skin-Port™ is the opening between your external device and the tube leading to your stomach. An Emergency Clamp component prevents any leakage of stomach contents if the A-tube and Skin-Port become disconnected.
The AspireAssist device can be removed.
AspireAssist removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with AspireAssist (although some food is routed out of the body directly from the stomach).
The AspireAssist procedure usually takes about 15 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Available studies to date have shown zero deaths as a result of having the AspireAssist procedure.
Most AspireAssist patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most AspireAssist patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Most AspireAssist patients do not have any issue with swallowing.
Low risk of vomiting (17% of patients), constipation (4.5% of patients), or diarrhea (4.5% of patients)
Potential malabsorption will require some monitoring and may result in a vitamin regimen
Food cravings will remain the same with the AspireAssist device.
Whether vitamins are required depends on each patient and how they are using the device. Your doctor should monitor your vitamin levels.
The gastric balloon is a temporary procedure. Depending on the balloon type you choose, it must be removed 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year after insertion.
Gastric balloon patients are more likely to see health improvements than people of similar weight who do not have the procedure.
Between 30 & 40 in U.S. (above 27 elsewhere)
Gastric balloon is not usually covered by insurance
Gastric balloon financing is available, subject to credit approval

$8,150

Gastric balloon is usually not covered by insurance.

$8,150

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Gastric balloon requires no incisions.
The gastric balloon is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
An inflated silicon balloon remains in the stomach for 6 months.
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons).
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons).
The path of digestion is unchanged with the gastric balloon.
Gastric balloon usually takes about 30 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric balloon survival rate is very high since the procedure requires no incisions and since complication risks are very low.
Most balloon patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most balloon patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Vomiting possible (but often avoidable with proper habits). “Feeling bloated” reported by some patients.
Potential Problem Foods: Pasta and other foods that might stick to balloon in stomach.
Food cravings will remain the same with the gastric balloon.
The balloon must be removed after 6 months (Orbera and ReShape balloons), so lifelong vitamins are not required.
The average gastric sleeve patient loses between 65% and 75% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Gastric sleeve surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve is included
Gastric sleeve financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$19,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most gastric sleeve procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric sleeve surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (gastric sleeve is not usually reversed)
The path of digestion remains the same after gastric sleeve (although part of the stomach is removed).
Gastric sleeve surgery usually takes about 2 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric sleeve mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most gastric sleeve patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most gastric sleeve patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
GERD (reflux) in ~1 out of 5 patients after 1 year, drops to 1~ out of 33 patients after 3 year. Some patients experience diarrhea.
Potential problem foods: Dairy
Food cravings may be reduced after gastric sleeve surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach.
The average gastric bypass patient loses between 65% and 75% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Gastric bypass surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, gastric bypass is included
Gastric bypass financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$24,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most gastric bypass procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric bypass surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach pouch and establishing the new intenstinal route).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (gastric bypass is not usually reversed)
Part of the small intestines are bypassed after gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery usually takes about 4 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications. Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric bypass mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most gastric bypass patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most gastric bypass patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Dumping syndrome occurs in ~80% of patients who eat sugar, refined fats, or carbs.
Potential problem foods: Sugars, Refined fats, Carbs, Dairy. Malabsorption will require life-long vitamin supplementation.
Food cravings may be reduced after gastric bypass surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach pouch.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach and for the lack of absorption resulting from the rerouted intestine.
The average duodenal switch patient loses between 65% and 90% of their excess weight within 2 years and has kept most of the weight off after 5 years.
Duodenal switch surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without (but more common for 50+)
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, duodenal switch is included
Duodenal switch financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$27,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most duodenal switch procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Duodenal switch surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
No external device is used (other than materials for "sealing" the smaller stomach and establishing the new intestinal route).
Not usually reversed
not applicable (duodenal switch is not usually reversed)
Part of the small intestines are bypassed after duodenal switch surgery.
Duodenal switch surgery usually takes about 4 hours to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Survival rate may be lower than other procedures because DS surgery tends to be performed on heavier patients who have higher risk.
Most DS patients remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
Most duodenal switch patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Might be significant, including frequency, diarrhea, and/or foul-smelling stools/flatulence.
Malabsorption will require life-long vitamin supplementation.
Food cravings may be reduced after duodenal switch surgery due to fewer hunger-causing hormones being released by the smaller stomach.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of a smaller stomach and for the lack of absorption resulting from the rerouted intestine.
Gastric Band surgery has highly variable results, with excess weight loss after 2 years ranging from 45% to 70%.
Gastric Band surgery improves or cures at least 15 obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many others.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40+ without
For policies that cover weight loss surgery, Gastric Band is included
Gastric Band financing is available, subject to credit approval

$3,500

Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

$15,000

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most Gastric Band procedures are performed laparoscopically.
Gastric Band surgery is backed by a significant amout of long-term research.
A silicone and silastic band is left around the top of the stomach, and a balloon around the inside of the band connects to a tube that leads to a round half-dollar-sized port just below the skin.
The Gastric Band can be removed.
Gastric Band removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with the Gastric Band.
Gastric Band surgery usually takes about 1 hour to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
Gastric Band mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most Gastric Band patients leave the hospital the same day or the day after the procedure.
Most Gastric Band patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks.
Can be caused by eating too quickly, too much or not chewing food enough and can usually be fixed by avoiding these issues.
Reflux and vomiting common if band too tight (can be adjusted). Some patients experience constipation.
Potential problem foods: Dairy. Should not drink anything within 30 minutes before or after eating
Food cravings will remain the same after Gastric Band surgery.
Lifelong vitamins will need to be taken to compensate for patients eating less food as a result of the smaller stomach pouch created by the band.
The average vBloc patient loses 25% of their excess weight within 1 year. Longer-term studies are not yet available.
While studies are limited, vBloc Therapy has been found to improve hypertension, diabetes, and several obesity-related health factors.
35 - 39.9 with health problems; 40 - 45 without (none over 45)
vBloc Therapy is not usually covered by insurance
vBloc Therapy financing is available, subject to credit approval

$18,500

vBloc Therapy is not usually covered by insurance.

$18,500

Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
Most vBloc procedures are performed laparoscopically.
vBloc Therapy is a relatively new procedure so long-term studies are limited.
The vBloc Therapy device is placed below the rib cage just under the skin. Leads (wires) connect the device to the vagal nerve, just above the stomach.
The vBloc Device can be removed.
vBloc device removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
The path of digestion is unchanged with vBloc Therapy.
vBloc implant usually takes less than 90 minutes to perform.
Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
vBloc mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
Most vBloc patients leave the hospital the same day as the procedure.
Most vBloc patients are able to return to work within a few days.
Most vBloc patients do not have any issue with swallowing.
Most vBloc patients do not experience digestion or bowel movement problems.
No medical risks, but healthier eating recommended for better results.
The vBloc device was specifically designed to control how often hunger impulses reach the brain.
vBloc device settings should be such that enough food will be eaten to provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Your doctor should monitor your vitamin levels.
Click to Collapse SectionClick to Learn More

Compared to more established and more involved procedures like gastric sleeve, DS, or gastric bypass, the following is generally true about the AspireAssist Device:

  • Less short-term weight loss
  • Less significant health improvement
  • Quicker recovery
  • Reversible
  • Few diet restrictions
  • Lower total cost (higher if you have insurance that covers weight loss surgery)
  • Not covered by insurance

12Start to Finish
  • 7 steps to long-term weight loss

01

Find A Top Surgeon

Top Surgeons will help you effectively navigate your procedure options, pre-surgery steps, financing, and possible insurance options:

  1. Many surgeons offer a free initial consultation, free local seminar, or free webinar. These will give you get a better idea of what to expect, and allow you to ask any questions you may have.
  2. Many surgeons also help with a free insurance check. If your insurance doesn’t cover the procedure you choose, like is the current case with the AspireAssist, your surgeon’s office might be able to help you get at least parts of your procedure covered.
  3. Your surgeon will push you towards new habits that will be essential to the success of your procedure. Many surgeons will recommend support group meetings as well, which have been found to be crucial in the weight loss process.

02

Preparing for the Procedure

Having a weight loss procedure performed will only take you so far. Even the most robust procedures will not automatically result in significant amounts of weight loss. This is especially true for the Aspire Assist since it is on the lower end of average weight loss for bariatric procedures.

Bariatric procedures are almost always combined with lifestyle changes, helping patients to establish a healthy diet and achievable exercise routine.

Establishing these habits before your procedure will make adjusting to your new lifestyle much easier after your procedure. Even the simplest procedures can be overwhelming, and adding too much “new” to your normal routine can result in you falling back on old habits.

03

Procedure Day

The insertion of the AspireAssist is one of the simplest bariatric procedures. The procedure is much like inserting a feeding tube, and should last just about 15 minutes. You will likely be in and out of the surgical center or GI suite in an hour or two.

04

Recovery

Recovery after the AspireAssist procedure is similar to the insertion of the vBloc device, making it one of the quickest recoveries for any of the bariatric surgeries. You should be back to work in in 2 – 3 days.

05

Adjust to Your New Lifestyle

life with the AspireAssist means making time to aspirate after each meal. About 20 or 30 minutes after you finish your meal you will need to find 5 or 10 minutes to use the device (to “aspirate”).

You will also need to chew your food thoroughly and drink plenty of fluids so your stomach contents can fit into your aspiration tube. Chewing your food more thoroughly will also help you lose more weight.

Lastly, your doctor will give you instructions regarding diet and exercise routines and possibly a vitamin regimen.

06

Regular Doctor and Counselor Visits

Your AspireAssist procedure will require several follow-up doctor’s visits to make adjustments to your internal tube as you lose weight. Additionally, you will have access to counselors who can give you advice about healthy eating and exercise habits, as well as how to fit aspiration (emptying your stomach) into your normal, daily routine.

07

Establish/Maintain Positive Long-Term Habits

The final part of your experience with the AspireAssist will be to continue the positive habits you have already established. Sustainable weight loss is as much, or more, about the habits you establish, rather than the procedure itself. The more you keep these good habits, the more weight you will lose and keep off.

14Help & Support
  • Ask the expert
  • Patient experiences

aspireassist device

Patient Experiences

Ask the Expert & Patient Experiences*

To meet face-to-face and in-person with other patients, talk with your surgeon about weight loss surgery support groups available in the area.

Our community would also love to read your experiences with the balloon. Your insights are invaluable to making sure other people have the tools to meet their goals.

In addition, we are happy to answer any questions you have about the procedure.

Please use the form below to share your experience or ask a question.

Ask the
Expert

Ask the Expert & Patient Experiences*

To meet face-to-face and in-person with other patients, talk with your surgeon about weight loss surgery support groups available in the area.

Our community would also love to read your experiences with the balloon. Your insights are invaluable to making sure other people have the tools to meet their goals.

In addition, we are happy to answer any questions you have about the procedure.

Please use the form below to share your experience or ask a question.

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Can I Get a Review of the AspireAssist Device?*

Hi, I am 32 with a BMI of 36. I tried diet and exercise but it barely helped. I've been looking into weight loss surgery for a while, but have…


15Find a Top AspireAssist Surgeon
  • Ask for a free seminar /webinar /cost quote
  • Schedule a phone or in-person consultation

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* Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for general information purposes and your specific results may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. Read More