The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a stomach pump to treat obesity called the AspireAssist, which uses a "surgically-placed tube to drain a portion of the stomach contents after every meal," said the FDA.
"The AspireAssist approach helps provide effective control of calorie absorption, which is a key principle of weight management therapy," Dr. William Maisel, the FDA's deputy director for science said in a statement
But the device isn't for everybody, and shouldn't be used for patients with eating disorders or who are moderately overweight, the FDA cautioned.
During clinical trials, patients using the device lost 12.1 percent of their total body weight compared to 3.6 percent for the control patients.
The new treatment shocked some critics, who called it "assisted bulimia," NBC News reported
Dr. Shelby Sullivan of Washington University in St. Louis defended the device, which she helped test.
"Patients eat less with this therapy than they did before," she told NBC News. "People think patients can eat whatever they want and then aspirate it and that's just not true. It has to be liquid enough and the particles have to be small enough to get through the tube."
Use of the device requires careful monitoring by a medical professional and lifestyle changes to reduce calorie intake. The device stops working after 115 cycles, or about five to six weeks, to ensure that patients return to their doctor, the FDA release said.
Aspire Bariatrics, the Pennsylvania company that manufactures the device, posed a video on YouTube describing it.
Twitter users seemed mostly horrified by the idea.
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