HackensackUMC First in State to Perform New Procedure to Treat Obesity

Hackensack University Medical Center, a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, is the first hospital in New Jersey to implant the vBloc® Therapy for the treatment of obesity. This FDA-approved procedure make weight-loss surgery available to 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 Dr. 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.”

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

“vBloc Therapy allows patients to lose weight by reducing their food 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.”

“I commend our surgery team, under the direction of Dr. Karpeh, for seeking the most advanced treatments for our patients,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president, HackensackUMC. “This new cutting-edge technology in the arena of minimally invasive weight loss procedures is another example of the commitment by our physicians and team members to offer our patients more options and innovative treatments.”

On January 14, 2015, EnteroMedics Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vBloc® vagal blocking therapy, delivered via the Maestro® System, for the treatment of adult patients with obesity who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 to 45 kg/m2, or a BMI of at least 35 to 39.9 kg/m2 with a related health condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, and who have tried to lose weight in a supervised weight management program within the past five years. The Maestro System is the first new medical device to be approved by the FDA for obesity in more than ten years.

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