Aspire for Weight Loss


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Two-hundred thousand Americans undergo weight loss surgery every year, choosing methods like gastric bypass, banding, or surgical balloons to shrink the stomach and decrease food intake. Now, doctors have another option for patients, when diet and exercise are not enough.

“The most I ever saw on the scale was 409 pounds,” Eric Wilcoxon told Ivanhoe.

Standing six feet, four inches tall, 44-year-old Eric leaves a big impression. These days, Eric is more than 135 pounds lighter after a lifetime struggle with diet and exercise that impacted his life and his health.

Eric detailed, “I sat in my chair for probably the last two years before I had this done.”

Eric’s wife, Christy, explained, “When it’s your husband, you don’t want anything to happen to him. I’m getting emotional here. I don’t want him to die.”

Vladimir Kushnir, M.D., a bariatric endoscopic surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis, recommended Eric undergo an endoscopic procedure to implant the Aspire Assist.

“The device is a modified feeding tube with a larger external portion and a smaller internal portion,” said Dr. Kushnir. (Read Full Interview)

Thirty minutes after a meal, Eric connects the tube to a water canister, and pumps out about one-third of his stomach.

“Similar to what happens with weight loss surgery, some of the food you eat doesn’t go where it naturally would, which helps you lose weight because you don’t absorb as many of the calories,” Dr. Kushnir told Ivanhoe.

Eric said, “A lot of people do think it’s gross, but I’m really not overly concerned about what other people think.”

Eric watches what he eats in order for the Aspire to work, he drinks a lot of water, and chews his food a lot.

Eric said, “People don’t comprehend how much you have to chew in order to do this. This tube in my belly is no bigger than an ink pen sitting on your desk.”

Eric credits that tube plus a healthy diet with allowing him to do things he couldn’t before, like coach his son’s football team.

The FDA approved the Aspire Assist last year for obese patients. Patients must not have undergone any other surgical weight loss procedure to be considered for Aspire Assist. Unlike other weight loss procedures, the Aspire Assist device can be removed.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.





TOPIC:       Aspire for Weight Loss

REPORT:   MB #4224

BACKGROUND: Obesity is a disease where a person has a body mass index of 30 or higher. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, and overweight is anywhere from 24.6 and 29.9. An estimated 112,000 deaths are related to obesity, since this disease can lead to 30 chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, asthma, sleep apnea, some types of cancer and others. According to the CDC, one in three American adults were obese in the year 2015. Today, almost 79 million Americans (69 percenr) are considered to be obese or overweight. Obesity can be treated with behavioral changes like dieting and exercising, but when these don’t lead to any results, weight loss surgeries are an option.

WEIGHT LOSS SURGERIES: Weight loss surgery is a treatment option for people who are obese and are committed to making lifestyle changes in order to keep the weight off.  In addition to helping patients lose weight, they also help with treating other conditions the patient may be suffering from like diabetes and heart disease. Some of the surgeries available are:

  • Gastric Bypass, where only a small part of the stomach is left. The small stomach can’t hold a lot of food, so the person eats less.
  • Adjustable Gastric Band which consists of putting a small band of the top of the stomach; the band leads to how much food can go in the stomach.
  • Gastric Sleeve, the surgery removes almost the entire stomach. The surgery also curbs the hunger hormone which results in eating less.
  • Electric Implant that delivers electrical pulses to a nerve between the stomach and brain, allowing for the brain to know when the stomach is full.


ASPIRE ASSIST: Aspire Assist is a new FDA approved treatment that can help obese people lose weight. This treatment works by helping reduce the amount of calories the body consumes by eliminating some of the food that was eaten. The Aspire Assist procedure consists of placing a thin tube in the inside of the stomach that connects directly to a discreet button on the outside of the abdomen. The placing of the device is a 15 minute procedure, where only local anesthesia is used, and patients can return to their normal activities 2 hours later. Once the device is in place, patients can “aspirate” up to 30 percent of what they ate, about 30 minutes after a meal. Patients also have to chew and eat very slowly in order to let the brain know that they are full.  Unlike other weight loss surgeries, this procedure is reversible since the device can be taken out at any time. So far, over 60 percent of the patients who have used Aspire Assist have lost over 10 percent of their body weight. People who qualify for this procedure are those with a BMI between 35 and 45, but it is not recommended for those who have gone through weight loss surgeries, stomach surgeries or an eating disorder.
(Source: & Dr. Vladimir Kushnir)


Judy Martin


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at


Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Vladimir Kushnir M.D.

Read the entire Q&A