vBloc Therapy - All You Need to Know

Reviewed by: Frank Chae, MD, CF, FACS

vBloc Therapy helps individuals with obesity lose up to 30% of their excess weight using:

  • FDA-approved implanted vagal nerve stimulator makes patients feel less hungry
  • Network of highly trained surgeons, nurses, and dietitians
  • Robust tools, technologies, and action plans

Read and click the sections below for everything you need to know about the vBloc procedure.

01 How vBloc Therapy Works

How vBloc Therapy Works

Hunger-controlling device implanted under skin, just below rib cage Device is recharged at home at least every other day Device blocks vagal nerve for a portion of each day, making you feel less hungry Patient works with dietitian and Internet-connected tools to stay on track

vBloc Therapy, pioneered by Enteromedics, combines the hunger-controlling effects of the implanted vBloc Therapy device (formerly called the Maestro Rechargeable System) with a robust weight loss support program, called vBloc Achieve, to help improve patients’ long-term success rates.

The vBloc Therapy device, which functions much like a pacemaker, and can be removed or deactivated if needed, was approved by the FDA in 2015. The system uses controlled electrical stimulation to block hunger signals sent from your stomach to your brain. In other words, it works by tricking your brain into thinking your body has a lower “set point.”

Definition: Set Point

Your body has a natural tendency to maintain a specific weight (its “set point”) and will adjust internal body processes accordingly. If your weight goes above or below its set-point range, your body will get you back in line by:

  1. Speeding up or slowing down metabolism
  2. Increasing or decreasing hunger impulses

Many people’s set point range puts them in the “obese” category because evolution has built the body to survive times of famine by storing excess fat. To learn more, see our Set Point Theory page.

The support program includes:

  • Registered Dietitian to track your weight loss, make diet and exercise recommendations, provide emotional support, and motivate you to stay on track
  • Technology to help you and your Registered Dietitian track your results, including an Ambio Scale to track and upload your weight loss to the internet

The vBloc Device Implant Procedure

During the procedure, your surgeon will implant the vBloc Therapy device below your rib cage just under the skin. Your surgeon will then attach the device to your vagal nerve, just above the stomach, via two leads (wires). The whole procedure usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Once in place, the device will block the vagal nerve from delivering hunger signals to the brain, making you feel full between meals and full sooner after smaller meals.

The vBloc Therapy Device is made of…

  • Surgical metals
  • Medical grade silicone
  • Rechargeable lithium battery

About the Device

The vBloc device is actually a series of several different components that combine to make your vBloc therapy device fully functional and effective:

  • Neuroregulator: this is the main part of the device that will be implanted just below your skin. It is used to control the “leads” (see below) to your vagus nerve, as well as help charge the device.
  • Lead System: These are the “wires” that will connect from the neuroregulator to your vagus nerve. They will deliver the electrical signals to make you feel less hungry.
  • Mobile Charger: This is the device outside your skin that will be used to charge your neuroregulator.
  • Transmit Coil: The transmit coil uses radio frequencies to connect the neuroregulator to either the mobile charger to charge your device or connect to the clinician programmer (see below) to make changes to your device.
  • Clinician Programmer: Using the transmit coil your doctor will connect to your neuroregulator to make adjustments to your device settings, as well as download information from the device about how both you and your system are doing.

Recharging the Device

The device is battery-powered so it is important you charge it at least every other day. To recharge the device, you should:

  1. Connect the Mobile Charger to the AC Recharger and then plug the whole unit into the wall.
  2. Once the Mobile Charger is fully charged, remove it from the AC Recharger and connect it to the Transmit Coil.
  3. Position the Transmit Coil on the skin over the Neuroregulator. The charge in the Mobile Charger is then transferred to the Neurorgulator through the Transmit Coil.
  4. Secure the Transmit Coil in place with the velcro belt. Allow the device to charge for 20 to 30 minutes (may take a few hours to fully recharge, if charging is not done every two days; if the device goes two month without recharging, you may need to visit your doctor to restart it)

During charging, you can be mobile and monitor the process on the display of the Mobile Charger.

02 Weight Loss

Weight Loss

About 25% of excess weight within 1 year

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 Less Hungry

Continued Weight Loss

Low Weight Reached Between Year 1 & Year 2

0 months

100%

Excess Weight Remains

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is XXX.

vbloc therapy is only available for patients with a BMI ranging from 35 to 45.

Scroll down the page to learn more about the vbloc therapy.

Click here to discuss your weight loss projections with a top vbloc therapy surgeon.

Not enough projected weight loss? There are several more involved weight loss procedures that typically result in greater weight loss than vbloc therapy, although they do include trade-offs.

Click here to compare other weight loss procedures.

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

Click here to learn your options.

Click to Learn More

Across all vBloc patients, average excess weight loss after 12 months ranges from 22% to 28%. For “moderately obese” patients (BMI 35 – 40), average excess weight loss is around 33%.

As with any weight loss surgery procedure, the amount of weight you will lose depends on:

  • The surgical team that you choose and how comprehensive their pre- and post-surgery education support is
  • How strictly you adhere to the pre- and post-surgery diet, exercise, and behavior regimen prescribed by your surgeon’s team
  • Your body and how well it responds to your chosen procedure

vBloc Therapy Weight Loss Research

Participants
Participants
53
53
120
120
28
28
239
239
26
26
Participants
% Excess Weight Lost
53
33%
  • 33%
  • 1 year
  • 2016 (1)
120
28%
  • 28%
  • 1 year
  • 2015 (2)
28
22%
  • 22%
  • 2 year
  • 2015 (3)
239
23.5%
  • 23.5%
  • 18 months
  • 2015 (4)
26
25%
  • 25%
  • 1 year
  • 2013 (5)
Participants
Timeframe
120
1 year
28
2 year
239
18 months
162
1 year
26
1 year
Participants
1 Year
53
2016 (1)
120
2015 (2)
28
2015 (3)
239
2015 (4)
26
2013 (5)
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03 Health Benefits

Health Benefits

Improves diabetes and heart issues

SELECT A BENEFIT

  • Cardiovascular Disease

    BODY SYSTEMCardiovascular

    Goes away for Moderate of patients

    • -9 mmHg reduction in Systolic blood pressure
    • -6 mmHg drop in their Diastolic blood pressure
    • -15 mg/dL drop in Cholestrol
    • -41 mg/dL in Triglyceride
  • Diabetes

    BODY SYSTEMFull body

    Goes away for Moderate of patients

    85% of patients maintain, reduce, or discontinue current level of diabetes medications
RESET
Click to Learn More

vBloc patients, in one small study 17 of 28 patients, saw measurable improvements in hypertension and type 2 diabetes (6). For Type 2 diabetics, after 12 months, 85% of patients were able to maintain, reduce, or discontinue their current level of diabetes medications. The same study confirmed that health gains from initial weight loss are largely sustained at 24 months.

In a larger study of 147 participants (7), patients experienced significant improvements in several obesity related risk factors including:

  • -9 mmHg reduction in Systolic blood pressure
  • -6 mmHg drop in their Diastolic blood pressure
  • -15 mg/dL drop in Cholestrol
  • -41 mg/dL in Triglyceride
  • -5% drop in HbA1c
  • 7 inch reduction in waist circumference

General (non-vBloc-specific) weight loss research has also identified significant improvement in cardiovascular disease and diabetes with modest weight loss.

For example, one study (8) of over 5,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who lost 5 to 10% of their body weight had:

  • Increased odds of achieving a 0.5% point reduction in HbA1c
  • 5-mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure
  • 5-mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure
  • 5 mg/dL increase in HDL cholesterol
  • 40 mg/dL decrease in triglycerides

All of these results are very good news for people with type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, that same study found that improvements in most risk factors improved even further for patients who lost 10 to 15% of their body weight.

04 Qualify

Qualify

35 to 45 body mass index (BMI) required Click here to calculate your BMI

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

Enter your height & weight, then click the button:

35-45

vbloc therapy
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

Weight Loss Procedure Qualification Info

BMI's ranging from 30 to 34.9 may qualify for Gastric Balloon. This BMI range may also qualify for other procedures if the patient has poorly controlled diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

BMI's ranging from 35 to 40 may qualify for Gastric Balloon. This BMI range may also qualify for other procedures if the patient has poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, or suffers from another weight-related health issue.

BMI's ranging from 40.1 to 45 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon.

BMI's ranging from 45.1 to 55 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon or vBloc Therapy.

BMI's above 55 may qualify for any weight loss procedure other than Gastric Balloon, vBloc Therapy, or AspireAssist.

Health Risk: High

You are considered to be underweight, so you do not qualify for weight loss surgery.

You should take physician-approved steps to gain weight.

Health Risk: Low

Your weight is considered healthy, so you do not qualify for weight loss surgery.

Health Risk: Moderate

Your BMI is too low to qualify for weight loss surgery.

Your health risk increases to “High” if two or more of the following apply to you:

  • - You smoke cigarettes
  • - Family history of premature heart disease
  • - High blood glucose (blood sugar)
  • - High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • - Low HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • - High LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • - High triglycerides

Your risk of health issues are even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Health Risk: High

You have a high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may be a good candidate for the gastric balloon procedure. You may also qualify for one of the other available weight loss procedures if you have uncontrolled diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Health Risk: High

You have a high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any one of the available weight loss procedures, including gastric balloon.

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your risk is even higher if your waist circumference is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40).

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40) or vBloc Therapy (max BMI is 45).

Health Risk: Very High

You have a very high risk of obesity-related health problems.

Your BMI indicates that you may qualify for any available weight loss procedure other than the gastric balloon (max BMI is 40), vBloc Therapy (max BMI is 45), or AspireAssist (max BMI is 55).

Click to Learn More

To qualify for any bariatric surgery you will have to meet certain qualifications. vBloc is no different. Ask your doctor to confirm that you meet all the following before you can qualify for vBloc Therapy:

  • Age: 18+
  • Body Mass Index (BMI): must be 35 to 45:
    • 35 to 39.9 must have an obesity-related health problem such as, but not limited to:
      • High blood pressure
      • High cholesterol
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Sleep apnea
    • 40 to 45, no health problems required to qualify
  • You have been unable to keep off weight with diet or exercise during a medically supervised diet program in the last 5 years

If you meet the above requirements, click here to contact a vBloc patient representative to find a surgeon and discuss your next steps.

vBloc Therapy may not be right if any of the following apply to you:

  • Pregnancy: your surgeon may deactivate (and later reactivate) your device if you become pregnant
  • Contraindications that will disqualify you:
    • Cirrhosis or high blood pressure in the veins of the liver
    • High blood pressure in the veins of the liver (portal hypertension)
    • Enlarged veins in the esophagus
    • A significant hiatal hernia of the stomach
    • Already have an implanted electronic medical device, such as a pacemaker
    • Plan to have an MRI or diathermy procedure using heat
    • Patients at high risk for surgical complications

05 Insurance

Insurance

Usually only covered by VA hospitals

While parts of your total cost may be covered, vBloc Therapy is not specifically included in most insurance plans. The only exception is U.S. veterans, as vBloc is now available at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. According to Enteromedics, the makers of vBloc Therapy, work is being done to get vBloc added to insurance plans across the country.

However, vBloc may be able to help you get some (or all) of your procedure costs paid for in certain circumstances.

vBloc Patient Representatives will help you determine whether your insurance will cover any part of your surgery. They will also help you apply for insurance coverage and appeal denials, if necessary.

06 Cost Without Insurance

Cost Without Insurance

Total Cost: $18,500, on average Loan Payment: $445/month, on average Discounts & Tax Savings: Usually available

VBLOCK THERAPY
LOAN ESTIMATOR

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Years

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Disclaimer

This tool provides estimates only. Please contact your insurance company to verify your actual out of pocket costs.

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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vBloc Therapy costs about the same as other types of weight loss surgery.

The total average cost is about $18,500 total (range from $17,500 – $19,500), which includes:

  • Pre-Op Costs
  • Surgery Costs, including the device
  • Post-Op Costs, including ongoing support from the vBloc Achieve one-on-one and group coaching program)

Note that most other procedures do not include Post-Op costs in their quoted fees, such as follow-up doctor visits or device adjustments.

Financing Options for vBloc Therapy

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)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Permanent Life Insurance Loans

  • A form of life insurance called “permanent” life insurance offers you benefits while you’re still alive, as opposed to paying out only after you are deceased like basic life insurance. This can be challenging to set up, and can take a significant time to accumulate value, so ask a financial planner, insurance broker, or life insurance representative for guidance before going forward.
  • These options can be understandably overwhelming. If you want to speak with a professional who can answer any questions for your specific circumstances…

    07 Recovery

    Recovery

    Hospital Stay: Outpatient (same-day) Time Off Work: 3 to 4 days Full Recovery: 4 to 6 weeks Pain: Manageable – same as any laparoscopic surgery Activity: Slow transition back to normal while incisions heal

    vBloc Procedure Recovery

    Hospital Stay: Outpatient
    (Same Day)

    The typical vBloc patient returns home on the same day. It is recommended that you have someone who is willing and able to drive you home and take care of you for at least 24 hours following surgery.

    Recovery

    Your incisions will take a few weeks to fully heal, but you should be able to return to work in a few days.

    Click to Learn More

    Recovery for this procedure is usually quick, especially compared to traditional surgeries. Your procedure will likely be performed in an outpatient setting, so you should be going home that day.

    Once home, it will probably take you a few weeks of rest to fully recover, but you should be back to work in 3 or 4 days.

    08 Diet & Life After

    Diet & Life After

    Develop new diet plan with nurse or dietitian No specific diet restrictions

    EXERCISE

    A good exercise routine is almost as important as your diet when it comes to long-term success:

    • Patients who exercise regularly lose more weight over the long-term
    • Physical and mental health benefits are incredible

    Shoot for 2.5 hours per week spread out over 2 to 4 days.

    DIET

    Because vBloc does not change your anatomy, there are no specific dietary restrictions or a risk of malabsorption (so no need for vitamin supplementation).

    NEW HABITS

    Your vBloc device is designed to work in tandem with lifestyle changes. So, as part of your vBloc Therapy, your nurse or dietitian will work with you to find ways to improve your diet and exercise habits.

    YOUR BRAIN

    After surgery you will feel less hungry, but that won't fix food addiction. Food addiction issues should be addressed before surgery. Rapid weight loss will also affect relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and strangers - both positively and negatively.

    EXERCISE
    DIET
    NEW HABITS
    YOUR BRAIN
    Click to Learn More

    Because vBloc does not change your anatomy, there are no specific dietary restrictions or a risk of malabsorption (so no need for vitamin supplementation). But, your vBloc device is designed to work in tandem with lifestyle changes. So, as part of your vBloc Therapy, your nurse or dietitian will work with you to find ways to improve your diet and exercise habits.

    The recommended lifestyle changes include three main components:

    • One-on-One Coaching: You have the opportunity to meet remotely with an expert dietician who will help you personalize your meals and exercise routine. For example, your coach can provide you with sample menus to help you plan more nutritious and fulfilling meals.
    • Personal Tracking Technology: Using the help of an electronic, wireless scale, your data can safely be shared with your dietician to give you personalized, and even real time, feedback about your weight loss.
    • Online Tools and Resources: vBloc Achieve provides patients with several online resources, including:
      • Meal and exercise tracking
      • Step-by-Step Guides for your full vBloc experience
      • Weight loss education materials
      • Helpful videos to help you learn the best

    These changes to your day-to-day meals and exercise routine are not required (in the sense that you will face medical complications if not followed). However they are highly recommended to ensure you successfully lose weight and, most importantly, keep it off.

    09 downsides

    downsides

    Moderate risk of non-serious complications Side effects may include digestion issues

    Complications
    • vBloc Therapy has the lowest rate of Serious Adverse Events among all long-term weight loss procedures.
    • Uncommon complications include neuroregulator malfunction, collapsed lung, and gallbladder disease
    Side Effects
    • Most are mild to moderate and not permanent.
    • Abdominal Pain or Cramping
    • Digestive issues such as belching, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), heartburn, indigestion (dyspepsia), and nausea
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Surgical pain or pain at the neuroregulator site
    Click to Learn More

    Non-Severe Complications & Side Effects

    The most commonly reported non-severe problems associated with vBloc Therapy include:

    • Abdominal Pain or Cramping
    • Belching
    • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
    • Heartburn
    • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
    • Nausea
    • Surgical Pain

    Most of these issues were mild to moderate in severity and are not permanent and resolve on their own (10).

    Serious Complications & Side Effects

    At 3.7%, the rate of Serious Adverse Events (SAE) for vBloc Therapy is lower than all other implanted devices for weight loss (11) and is lower than the serious complication rate of more invasive bariatric surgery procedures like gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery.

    Documented vBloc Therapy SAE’s include:

    • Vomiting (less than 1% of patients)
    • Neuroregulator malfunction
    • Pain at the neuroregulator site
    • Collapsed lung
    • Gallbladder disease

    Additional risks to consider:

    • The long-term effects of vBloc Therapy have not been studied
    • The rate of patients requiring vBloc revision surgery to reposition, replace, or remove the device is about 1 in 15 patients after 18 months (6.8%) (12)

    Pregnancy

    vBloc Therapy does not affect your ability to get pregnant because it does not alter your anatomy. However, you cannot have this procedure if you are currently pregnant, and you will need to have the device deactivated immediately if you become pregnant. The device can be deactivated (stop therapy) and reactivated (start therapy) wirelessly by your surgeon at any time.

    Interference with Other Devices

    The vBloc Therapy device can interfere with other devices such as:

    • Airport security screening devices – your device will likely set off metal detectors and may be seen through airport screening technology. You should not experience any delays as long as you present your vBloc ID card.
    • MRI machines – it is not safe to have an MRI with the vBloc device in place as it can result in pain, heating, burns, or nerve damage. Contact your doctor to discuss before having an MRI.
    • Pacemakers – patients with a pacemaker cannot have vBloc Therapy because the devices can interfere with each other.
    • Defibrillators – likewise, patients with defibrillators cannot have vBloc Therapy.

    10 vBloc Therapy Vs. 6 Other Weight Loss Procedures

    vBloc Therapy Vs. 6 Other Weight Loss Procedures

    Lowest risk of Serious Adverse Events (SAE) among all weight loss procedures One of 4 procedures that is reversible Only procedure that directly controls hunger impulses One of 2 procedures with no specific diet restrictions Less weight loss than more involved procedures No long-term research available

    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

    Year 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

    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.
    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

    $2,000

    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

    $2,000

    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

    $2,000

    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.
    Lap-Band surgery has highly variable results, with excess weight loss after 2 years ranging from 45% to 70%.
    Lap-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, Lap-Band is included
    Lap-Band financing is available, subject to credit approval

    $2,000

    Actual out of pocket costs depend on your insurance plan.

    $15,000

    Costs vary by surgeon and hospital.
    Most Lap-Band procedures are performed laparoscopically.
    Lap-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 Lap-Band can be removed.
    Lap-Band removal is not required unless the patient develops a device-related complication.
    The path of digestion is unchanged with the Lap-Band.
    Lap-Band surgery usually takes about 1 hour to perform.
    Non-severe complications are much more common than severe complications Learn Risks & How to Minimize
    Lap-Band mortality risk is equal to that of any other routine surgical procedure.
    Most Lap-Band patients leave the hospital the same day or the day after the procedure.
    Most Lap-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 Lap-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.
    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.
    Click to Learn More

    Generally speaking, the other more invasive weight loss procedures result in more weight loss and therefore a higher degree of health improvement than vBloc Therapy.

    However, vBloc Therapy has the lowest rate of complications, does not require significant diet changes, and has fewer and less severe side effects than most other widely accepted procedures.

    Total costs of vBloc are comparable to other types of surgery, although vBloc (along with Gastric Balloon) is less likely to be covered by insurance.

    Quiz: Which Weight Loss Surgery Is Best for You?

    Quiz Which Weight Loss Surgery Is
    Best for You?

    Your Results

    04 Input your Height and Weight

    05 Do you have any weight-related health issues (diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea, joint problems, etc.)?

    07 How do you feel about regular visits with a bariatric professional (doctor, dietician, etc.)?

    09 Would the risk of uncomfortable side effects like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea be a good motivator for you to maintain the right diet, or would you rather avoid those side effects at all costs?

    10 Do you have insurance that covers bariatric surgery?

    11 Are you on anticoagulation medication (blood thinners)?

    12 Are you comfortable with the idea of an external device being left inside your body after surgery?

    14 Are you willing to be on a serious regimen of vitamins and supplements for the rest of your life?

    Unfortunately, none of the available types of weight loss surgery seem to be a good fit.

    Here's why: Earlier you said that you have not thoroughly explored other treatments for obesity. That is required for all procedures except gastric balloon. Your body mass index ("BMI", which is based on your height and weight) is over 40, and gastric balloon is only available for BMI's between 30 and 40. So unfortunately, none of the available procedures seem to be a good fit.

    Unfortunately, none of the available types of weight loss surgery seem to be a good fit for you.

    Body Mass Index & Health Conditions

    Your body mass index is XX.

    In order to qualify for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, Lap-Band surgery, your body mass index (BMI) must be 40+ or between 35 and 40 only if you also have weight-related health issues (but you may be able to get approval with a BMI as low as 30).

    For vBloc Therapy, your body mass index (BMI) must be 40+ or between 35 and 45 only if you also have weight-related health issues.

    Gastric balloon requires a BMI between 30 and 40 (with or without health issues).

    AspireAssit requires a BMI between 35 and 55 (with or without health issues).

    Even though your BMI would qualify you for the gastric balloon, you said anything less than 50% excess weight loss is unacceptable. Unfortuantely, gastric balloon only results in about 20% excess weight loss.

    Learn more about Gastric Balloon

    Since you are or are planning to be pregnant, you should not a weight loss procedure at this time.

    Most women should wait least one year to 18 months after bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. This is the timeframe when many patients experience the biggest amount of weight loss, and it is the most difficult period for keeping your body’s nutritional needs in line.

    Many bariatric surgery procedures prevent patients from getting the vitamins their bodies need from the foods they eat. So even after you’ve waited the 12 to 18 months, you’ll need to make sure you stay on top of your bariatric vitamins both before and during your pregnancy.

    Learn More About Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery

    YOUR RESULTS

    Thank you for completing Bariatric Surgery Source’s "Which Weight Loss Surgery Is Best for You?" quiz! The results are in...

    Winner

    Gastric sleeve surgery, also called “vertical sleeve gastrectomy”, drastically reduces the size of the stomach which causes patients to feel full sooner and lowers the production of hunger-inducing hormones, leading to significant long-term weight loss and health improvement.

    Gastric bypass surgery, also called “ Roux-en-Y gastric bypass”, makes the stomach smaller and reroutes the intestines, causing patients to feel full sooner and absorb less food, resulting in significant long-term weight loss and health improvement.

    The endoscopic intragastric balloon, or “gastric balloon,” is a relatively new, non-invasive, and temporary procedure whereby a durable silicone balloon is passed through the mouth, down into the stomach, and filled with saline to make patients feel full sooner, leading to significant short-term weight loss.

    It was developed to "bridge the gap" between pure diet and exercise and a more complicated bariatric procedure like gastric sleeve surgery.

    The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD-DS), or “Duodenal Switch” (DS) for short, deserves more credit and attention than it’s been given. On average, it results in more weight loss than any other procedure.

    Its mortality risks are on par with other procedures, and it may be the best procedure for those with a 50+ body mass index (“super-obese”) in terms of average weight loss and elimination of obesity health problems.

    However, its higher rate of serious complications and the amount of malabsorption that it causes command careful consideration before moving forward.

    Gastric banding, also called Lap-Band surgery, is quickly losing popularity due to the high number of patients requiring band removal over the long-term. However, the procedure still has a lot going for it such as being adjustable and reversible.

    vBloc Therapy is an FDA-approved two-pronged method to help individuals with a BMI between 35 and 45 lose weight and control hunger.

    First, vBloc Therapy uses an implanted vagal nerve stimulator that blocks hunger signals and reduces how hungry you feel day to day.

    Second, a network of highly trained surgeons, nurses, and dietitians will use robust tools, technologies, and action plans to get your weight down and get it at your new low.

    Your Projections

    After 6 Months:

    Lose XX

    After 2 Years:

    Lose XX

    Runner Up

    Gastric sleeve surgery, also called “vertical sleeve gastrectomy”, drastically reduces the size of the stomach which causes patients to feel full sooner and lowers the production of hunger-inducing hormones, leading to significant long-term weight loss and health improvement.

    Gastric bypass surgery, also called “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass”, makes the stomach smaller and reroutes the intestines, causing patients to feel full sooner and absorb less food, resulting in significant long-term weight loss and health improvement.

    The endoscopic intragastric balloon, or “gastric balloon,” is a relatively new, non-invasive, and temporary procedure whereby a durable silicone balloon is passed through the mouth, down into the stomach, and filled with saline to make patients feel full sooner, leading to significant short-term weight loss.

    It was developed to "bridge the gap" between pure diet and exercise and a more complicated bariatric procedure like gastric sleeve surgery.

    The Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD-DS), or “Duodenal Switch” (DS) for short, deserves more credit and attention than it’s been given. On average, it results in more weight loss than any other procedure.

    Its mortality risks are on par with other procedures, and it may be the best procedure for those with a 50+ body mass index (“super-obese”) in terms of average weight loss and elimination of obesity health problems.

    However, its higher rate of serious complications and the amount of malabsorption that it causes command careful consideration before moving forward.

    Gastric banding, also called Lap-Band surgery, is quickly losing popularity due to the high number of patients requiring band removal over the long-term. However, the procedure still has a lot going for it such as being adjustable and reversible.

    vBloc Therapy is an FDA-approved two-pronged method to help individuals with a BMI between 35 and 45 lose weight and control hunger.

    First, vBloc Therapy uses an implanted vagal nerve stimulator that blocks hunger signals and reduces how hungry you feel day to day.

    Second, a network of highly trained surgeons, nurses, and dietitians will use robust tools, technologies, and action plans to get your weight down and get it at your new low.

    Your Projections

    After 6 Months:

    Lose XX

    After 2 Years:

    Lose XX
    Click to Expand
    Your Detailed Results

    Click the sections below to learn why you received these results…

    Weight Loss

    The more "involved" procedures like gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, Lap-Band aggressively restrict the amount of food your stomach can hold ("restrictive") and/or alter your digestive system to reduce the amount of food your body can absorb ("malabsorptive"). As a result, they are much more likely to lead to weight loss that exceeds 50% of your excess weight.

    The less involved restrictive procedures like gastric balloon and vBloc Therapy typically result in a more moderate amount of weight loss.

    You said anything less than 50% excess weight loss is unacceptable, so your best options may be the more "involved" procedures like gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, or Lap-Band.

    You said you are only interested in less involved procedures, so gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and Lap Band are probably not for you. Less involved procedures, including Gastric Balloon, vBloc Therapy, or AspireAssist, may be more appropriate.

    BACK

    Failed Diet Programs

    Most types of weight loss surgery - gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and Lap-Band, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist - are only appropriate for people who have tried and failed with a medically supervised diet program.

    Gastric balloon surgery is the only procedure that does not require this.

    Talk with your surgeon about how to get started with a supervised diet program.

    Failed Diet Programs

    Most types of weight loss surgery - gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and Lap-Band, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist - are only appropriate for people who have tried and failed with a medically supervised diet program.

    Gastric balloon surgery is the only procedure that does not require this.

    Talk with your surgeon about how to get started with a supervised diet program.

    BACK

    Health Improvement

    You indicated that you currently have weight-related health issues, which will likely improve and may even be "cured" following weight loss surgery. Generally speaking, the more weight you lose, the more health improvement you are likely to experience. Following is the average excess weight loss by procedure, from highest to lowest:

    1. Duodenal switch (65% - 90%)
    2. Gastric Sleeve & Gastric Bypass (tie at 65% - 75%)
    3. Lap Band (45% - 70%)
    4. AspireAssist (~30%)
    5. vBloc Therapy (20 - 25%)
    6. Gastric Balloon (~20%, but removed after 6 months)

    However, weight loss and health improvement are not the whole story, and several other factors have been taken into account in our recommendations.

    Body Mass Index & Health Conditions

    Your body mass index is XX.

    In order to qualify for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch, Lap-Band surgery, your body mass index (BMI) must be 40+ or between 35 and 40 only if you also have weight-related health issues (but you may be able to get approval with a BMI as low as 30).

    For vBloc Therapy, your body mass index (BMI) must be 40+ or between 35 and 45 only if you also have weight-related health issues.

    Gastric balloon requires a BMI between 30 and 40 (with or without health issues).

    AspireAssit requires a BMI between 35 and 55 (with or without health issues).

    BACK

    Patients Under 18

    While bariatric surgery is performed on patients under 18 years of age, your surgeon will have several concerns including: whether you are disciplined enough to adhere to strict diet and exercise requirements (many teens are not ready for or cannot prepare for that level of dedication), whether your family and friends will be supportive enough, whether you can properly evaluate the risks vs the rewards of surgery, whether the procedure could potentially affect your growth or bone density (especially malaborptive procedures), and the unknowns about the long-term effect of having an external device in your body (for those procedures that include one like Lap-Band or vBloc). The gastric balloon is not an option as it is currently only allowed for patients over 18.

    Patients 65 or Older

    Since you are 65 or older, it is possible that bariatric surgery is a good option, but you may be less likely to qualify than younger patients due to higher risks.

    For example, one study evaluated 100 patients over the age of 65 and found that bariatric surgery for seniors has similar benefits and no additional risks compared to patients under 65. Their results showed that morbidly obese patients over 65 have shorter hospital stays following bariatric surgery than younger patients. The same study showed that after two years older patients lost almost 76% of their excess weight.

    However, a much larger aggregate study of over 25,000 patients showed that seniors experience less weight loss and more complications than younger patients and concluded that, "Limiting bariatric surgical procedures to those younger than 65 years is warranted because of the high morbidity and mortality associated with these operations in older patients."

    BACK

    Ongoing Doctor Visits

    After the initial surgery, Lap-Band and vBloc Therapy may require several doctor visits to "fine tune" the device to the point that it is just right for you. The other procedures tend to require less long-term follow up doctor visits, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, and duodenal switch. You indicated that seeing your doctor regularly is not an issue for you, so this is just for your information.

    Ongoing Doctor Visits

    Since avoiding the doctor is important to you, you may want to stick with procedures that tend to require less frequent follow up, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, or duodenal switch. After the initial surgery, certain procedures like Lap-Band and vBloc Therapy may require several doctor visits to "fine tune" the device to the point that it is just right for you.

    Ongoing Doctor Visits

    Since avoiding the doctor is important to you, you may want to stick with procedures that tend to require less frequent follow up, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, or duodenal switch. After the initial surgery, certain procedures like Lap-Band and vBloc Therapy may require several doctor visits to "fine tune" the device to the point that it is just right for you.

    BACK

    Food Cravings

    There are several reasons people crave food, including food addiction, an overproduction of hunger-causing hormones, and hunger impulses sent from the stomach to the brain. Since food cravings are a big issue for you now, they are likely to continue after surgery unless you choose a procedure that specifically addresses them.

    Although weight loss after vBloc Therapy is not as great as many of the other procedures, it is specifically designed to block hunger impulses sent to the brain. Gastric sleeve and duodenal switch have impressive weight loss and reduce food cravings by completely removing a large portion of your hormone-secreting stomach.

    Food Cravings

    There are several reasons people crave food, including food addiction, an overproduction of hunger-causing hormones, and hunger impulses sent from the stomach to the brain. Since food cravings are an issue for you now, they are likely to continue after surgery unless you choose a procedure that specifically addresses them.

    Although weight loss after vBloc Therapy is not as great as many of the other procedures, it is specifically designed to block hunger impulses sent to the brain. Gastric sleeve and duodenal switch have impressive weight loss and reduce food cravings by completely removing a large portion of your hormone-secreting stomach.

    BACK

    Dumping Syndrome

    For some patients, eating foods high in fat, carbohydrates, or sugar, eating foods that are too hot or too cold, or drinking liquids during meals can result in dumping syndrome. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, rapid heart rate, sweating, and vomiting.

    While very uncomfortable if it happens, this can actually be a good thing as it provides a very strong deterrent against "cheating" on your new bariatric diet which can lead to better long-term weight loss.

    Dumping syndrome is experienced by about 4 out of every 5 gastric bypass patients. The other procedures are much less likely to cause this issue.

    Since you indicated that you're open to your body reacting negatively to the wrong diet choices, you may want to keep gastric bypass on your list of possible procedures.

    Since you indicated that you don't want to worry about the symptoms associated with dumping syndrome, you may want to remove gastric bypass from your list of procedures to consider.

    BACK

    Insurance

    The fact that your insurance covers weight loss surgery is great news, although some individual procedures may not be covered. Even after a new procedure has been proven in the scientific community, it often takes years for insurance companies to add it to their list.

    Your policy will probably cover gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, Lap Band, and duodenal switch since they have all been around for a long time.

    Gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist will probably not be covered directly, but your surgeon's office may be able to help you get some of the costs covered. However, these procedures may be covered on a case-by-case basis.

    Most top surgeons will help you figure out the cost side of things, including providing a free insurance check and helping you get financing for the part insurance does not cover.

    Read the Bariatric Insurance Guide

    Insurance

    You indicated that you're not sure whether your insurance covers weight loss surgery. If you find out that it's covered, note that some procedures may not be included in your policy. Even after a new procedure has been proven in the scientific community, it often takes years for insurance companies to add them to their list.

    If your specific policy covers bariatric surgery, it will probably cover gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, Lap Band, and duodenal switch since those procedures have been around for a long time.

    Gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist will probably not be covered directly, but your surgeon's office may be able to help you get part of the procedure costs covered. However, these procedures may be covered on a case-by-case basis.

    Most top surgeons will help you figure out the cost side of things, including providing a free insurance check and helping you get financing for the part insurance does not cover.

    Read the Bariatric Insurance Guide
    BACK

    Anticoagulation Medicine

    Since you are currently taking anticoagulation medication (blood thinners), you will have a higher risk of marginal ulcers forming in the new stomach pouch created during a gastric bypass procedure. As a result, if you are on the fence between gastric bypass and a different procedure, you may want to choose the other procedure.

    Anticoagulation Medicine

    If you are currently taking anticoagulation medication (blood thinners), you will have a higher risk of marginal ulcers forming in the new stomach pouch created during a gastric bypass procedure. As a result, if you are on the fence between gastric bypass and a different procedure, you may want to choose the other procedure.

    BACK

    Implanted Device

    Gastric balloon, vBloc Therapy, and Lap Band each include a different types of device that is left inside the body. Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch do not.

    Since you're open to that idea, we haven't given this any weight in our recommendation - we just wanted you to be aware.

    Since you are uncomfortable with the thought of a device being left inside your body, you may want to avoid gastric balloon, vBloc, and Lap Band.

    BACK

    Reversible Procedures

    Generally speaking, the reversible procedures, including vBloc Therapy, AspireAssist, Lap Band, and gastric balloon, do not result in as much weight loss or as much health improvement as the "permanent" gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch procedures.

    However, they do have a few points in their favor:

    1. Weight loss can still be significant, especially depending on your goals
    2. They allow you to "stick your toe in the weight loss surgery waters" without taking the full leap, especially when diet and exercise aren't working
    3. The risk of serious complications tends to be lower
    4. They can serve as a "bridge" (first step) to a permanent procedure. The more weight you lose before a permanent procedure, the lower the risk of complications and the more long-term weight loss you are likely to achieve.

    Since the ability to reverse your procedure is important to you, you should move vBloc Therapy, gastric balloon, AspireAssist, and Lap-Band surgery higher up your list.

    Since the ability to reverse your procedure is not important to you, you may want to focus more on other procedure differences like potential weight loss, health improvement, and risks.

    BACK

    Vitamins & Supplements

    All weight loss procedures require some level of supplementation, although some are more serious with their requirements than others. The two malabsorptive procedures, gastric bypass and duodenal switch, alter the path of your digestion to prevent your body from absorbing as much food. While this tends to lead to greater weight loss, it also carries with it a higher risk of malnutrition. As a result, you will be on a more robust and stricter vitamin and supplement regimen than with the other procedures.

    Since you indicated that you are not willing to be on a serious regimen of vitamins and supplements for the rest of your life, you should think hard about whether weight loss surgery is right for you.

    The only procedure that does not require permanent long-term supplementation is gastric balloon because the balloon is usually removed after 6 months.

    The "restrictive" procedures (gastric sleeve and Lap-Band), vagus-nerve-blocking procedure (vBloc), and aspiration procedure (AspireAssist) tend to lead to much lower instances of vitamin deficiency, but you still may need to be on a more moderate regimen of vitamins since your body will not be able to hold (and therefore absorb nutrients from) as much food.

    The malabsorptive procedures require strict, lifelong supplementation, so you should probably avoid those procedures.

    BACK

    11 Start to Finish

    Start to Finish

    10 steps to long-term weight loss

    01

    Contact vBloc

    Contact vBloc to be partnered with a patient representative who will answer all your questions, help you determine whether vBloc is a good option for you and, if it is, connect you with a qualified surgeon.

    02

    Apply for Insurance or Financing

    If needed, you will be assigned a vBloc Access case manager to help you apply for insurance coverage and, if necessary, appeal any denials. Your patient representative can also help point you in the right direction for competitive financing options.

    03

    Meet with Your Surgeon

    You will meet with your surgeon to discuss your surgery and vBloc Therapy, set expectations, and work through the necessary pre-surgery steps.

    04

    Have Surgery

    The day of your surgery, your bariatric surgeon will implant the vBloc Therapy device just under the skin and connect two leads to the vagal nerve just above the stomach. Since the procedure is done laparoscopically, there should be minimal scarring. It is done under general anesthesia, usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, and this is usually done on an outpatient basis. This means you will probably be in and out of the hospital on the same day..

    05

    Return to Regular Life

    Most patients are back to work and regular daily activity after a few days. As with any surgery, full recovery may take several weeks.

    06

    Charge Your Device

    You will recharge your device for 20 to 30 minutes every one to two days by placing the charger on the outside of your skin just above the device and holding it in place with a strap.

    07

    Effects of the Device

    The device is programmed to deliver hunger-preventing vagal nerve stimulation at least 12 hours per day while you are awake. It is designed to help you feel full sooner and longer after eating small portions. Some patients describe a feeling of fullness in the stomach while other do not report this effect.

    08

    Diet Changes Highly Recommended But Not Required

    Following recovery, there are no dietary restrictions as as result of the device, and there is no risk of malabsorption (so no need for vitamin supplementation), although your nurse or dietitian will work with you through the “vBloc Achieve” program to improve diet and exercise habits for better results.

    09

    Ongoing doctor visits

    Each patient is different, so to ensure the proper amount of therapy, the settings of your vagal nerve stimulator may need to be adjusted during follow up office visits with your surgeon. Settings are adjusted wirelessly (no additional surgery required). An initial visit will be required about two weeks after surgery. The frequency of subsequent follow up visits will vary by patient.

    10

    Establish Long-Term Habits

    You will continue to work with your vBloc Therapy team, through the vBloc Achieve program, who will help you stay on track with diet, exercise, and education.

    For example, your team will work with you to set specific goals and create a plan to help you achieve them. They will discuss special tools with you that will give them more information that will help you succeed, such as an internet-connected scale and activity tracking device for automatically sending weight loss progress and exercise information. While ongoing check-ups with your surgeon will be in-person, meetings with your vBloc counselor are conducted virtually over the phone or internet.

    • 5+ Year Battery Life

      The battery is warranted to last 5 years but is designed to last up to 8. Outpatient surgery will be required to replace the battery.


    Click Here to Contact a vBloc Patient Representative or to Find a vBloc Surgeon

    A few more things to note about vBloc Therapy:

    • The device can be deactivated without surgery if needed (like you become pregnant, for example)
    • It can be removed entirely for any reason, such as conversion to a more aggressive weight loss surgery

    12 Help & Support

    Help & Support

    Ask the expert Patient experiences

    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.

    Click for Form & Visitor Submissions

    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.

    Click for Form & Visitor Submissions

    We would love to hear your experiences with the gastric sleeve surgery. Much like how support groups help others, your insights are invaluable to making sure other people have the tools to meet their goals.

    We would also be happy to answer any questions you may have about gastric sleeve surgery.

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    [ Last editorial review/modification of this page : 02/20/2017]

    * 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