MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new tool in the battle against obesity is a device that promises to turn off hunger.READ MORE: BSO Searching For Tamarac Burglar Claiming To Be Deputy
It works like an appetite pacemaker and it’s taken the weight loss world by storm.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Maestro V-Bloc last month.
“Everybody was caught off guard,” said Dr. Ken Fujioka. “It got approved quicker than any of us thought.”
Dr. Fujioka is a weight loss researcher at one of a handful of sites nationwide testing the V-bloc in people.
“Right now we’re in a brand new era of treating weight,” said Dr. Fujioka.
Virginia Valles got her V-bloc four years ago. She was one of the very first patients to give it a try.
“I heard an ad on the radio for a clinical trial. It was going to be free so what did I have to lose,” said Valles.
At the time, she was more than a hundred pounds overweight
“My husband loves to eat we have four sons who were just ravenous. Wanted to eat all the time,” said Valles.
All the food she served to them took their toll on her.READ MORE: Special City Of Miami Commission Meeting Held To Discuss Future Of Chief Art Acevedo
“It all tempted me,” said Valles.
But, ever since her surgery she said, “it doesn’t.”
The V-bloc works a lot like a pacemaker. It has a motor that’s implanted under the skin and wires that connect it to cuffs placed around the vagus nerve which runs from the brain to the intestines. That nerve plays a huge role in regulating how hungry we are.
“Your appetite will really go up if you’re not signaling that you should be full,” said Dr. Fujioka.
The v-bloc turns on automatically. Tiny metal coils inside the cuffs send electrical pulses along the nerve for about 12 hours a day
Once the current is going, Dr. Fujioka said, “You get this feeling of fullness. It’s like you just ate a really big meal.”
While she doesn’t feel any electrical charge, she can feel the device itself.
“Once in a while I’ll move wrong, or I’ll jiggle it and I’ll notice it,” said Valles.
She is still 40 pounds from her weight loss goal but she’s happy with the progress she has made.
With her loss of weight, she’s gained back her active lifestyle.
“I’ve always had a love of the water and now I’m back on it in a kayak,” said Valles.
The doctor said unlike other procedures that change how food gets digested,electrical stimulation simply changes the feedback to the brain, signaling you’re full quicker.MORE NEWS: Sheriff: Person Of Interest In 19-Year-Old Miya Marcano's Disappearance Found Dead
At this point, there is no word on how much the procedure will cost or whether insurance will cover any of it.