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Hackensack Hospital First In State To Implant Anti-Obesity Device

Hackensack University Medical Center has become the first hospital in New Jersey to implant vBloc Therapy for the treatment of obesity, according to an announcement. This illustration shows how vBloc Therapy works. Photo Credit: Courtesy of EnteroMedics
The Maestro System. Photo Credit: Courtesy of EnteroMedics

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A new treatment for obesity is available at Hackensack University Medical Center, the first hospital in the state to get approval. 

Implant vBloc Therapy is a new FDA-approved procedure that allows weight-loss surgery for people who may not have been candidates for gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries.

The procedure was performed by Hans J. Schmidt, M.D., FACS, chief, Division of Bariatric Surgery and director, Center for Bariatric Medicine and Surgery Department of Surgery at HackensackUMC. 

 “More than 20 million Americans suffer from morbid obesity, making it one of the leading medical problems facing the country today,” said Schmidt. “vBloc Therapy provides patients with a bariatric surgical option they have never had before – a positive path to addressing their weight issues that does not compromise their lifestyle or social well-being.

"The Center for Bariatric Medicine and Surgery at HackensackUMC is pleased to be among the first to be certified in the surgical technique for implanting the Maestro System so that our patients are able to lose weight through vBloc," Schmidt said.

vBloc Therapy is delivered by a pacemaker-like device that is implanted, usually in an outpatient procedure, to control both hunger and fullness by intermittently blocking the primary nerve that regulates the digestive system, the vagus nerve, according to information from the medical center. 

vBloc Therapy does not surgically alter or restrict the digestive system, and does not create barriers to prevent absorption of nutrients. It is completely reversible, allowing patients to lose weight without lifestyle compromises.

Patients can lose weight by reducing their intake, "helping them feel less hungry and more full for longer periods of time,” said Martin S. Karpeh, M.D., chairman, Department of Surgery at HackensackUMC. 

“Unlike other weight loss treatments that alter the gastrointestinal tract, vBloc Therapy blocks impulses that alert a person when they are hungry and transmits a signal from the stomach to the brain that provides the sensation of being full," he said.

The surgical program is combined with a multidisciplinary medical program to provide patients with comprehensive care before and after surgery. 

By partnering with the HackensackUMC Fitness and Wellness Center, patients have a complete program to achieve their health and fitness goals, the doctors said.

For more information, see The Center for Bariatric Medicine and Surgery at HackensackUMC's website.

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