MedStar Health performs first vBloc implant using VA alternative

The vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy is available to veterans in their communities.
The vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy is available to veterans in their communities. | File photo

Using a non-invasive solution for obesity and other metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, Minnesota’s EnteroMedics recently revealed that MedStar Health achieved its first implant device for a military veteran in Maryland via the Veterans Choice Program.

Known as vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy, the procedure is available to veterans in their communities rather than requiring VA hospital involvement. Consequently, more former military personnel have access to the procedure.

"We are so pleased to be a part of a program that allows access to a safe, durable, non-anatomy-altering solution for patients who are battling the potentially life-threatening disease of obesity and its associated comorbidities," Dr. John  Brebbia, who performed the first-of-its-kind procedure, said. "While we have successfully implanted vBloc in the general population at MedStar, we are honored to now be offering this solution to the many veterans who qualify for vBloc through the Veterans Choice Program."

The therapy works by rendering a sensation of fullness in the patient, alleviating hunger sensations through a device described by EnteroMedics as “pacemaker-like.”

The Veterans Administration reported a 30 percent rise in authorizations for the procedure in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 as compared to the same time period in 2016. In addition, through an agreement between EnteroMedics and Academy Medical, the expenses associated with vBloc for qualified veterans are covered under their VA health benefits.

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Organizations in this story

EnteroMedics Inc. 2800 Patton Rd Roseville, MN - 55113-1100