How It Works
vBloc® Therapy takes intelligent technology used safely for years in pacemakers and applies it to the vagus nerve—making it a less invasive weight loss alternative.
How vBloc Therapy works with your body
Delivered via a pacemaker-like neuroregulator device, vBloc Therapy blocks hunger signals between the brain and stomach, that can make you feel fuller longer and reduce the amount of food you want to eat.
The device is placed just under the skin. The leads are placed on the trunk of the vagus nerve. Because the leads are placed laparoscopically, there is limited scarring and recovery time compared to traditional bariatric surgeries. Better yet, many patients are able to have the procedure done on an outpatient basis.
vBloc Therapy is the safest implanted device for weight loss.7
vBloc offers unique advantages.
- Implanted just under the skin
- Less invasive than traditional weight loss surgeries
- Short recovery time
- Limited scarring
- Does not alter your digestive anatomy, so you process foods exactly as you did before
- No restrictive/elimination diets
- No potentially embarrassing physical reactions to food
- No life-long nutritional supplement regimens
- Enjoy same foods as your friends and family
- Can be deactivated or reactivated for emergencies or pregnancies quickly and easily
- Device can be removed at any time, meaning it doesn’t have to be a permanent decision
- Your clinician will customize the device’s programming to fit your schedule
The vBloc Lifestyle
Weight loss doesn’t have to mean trading one set of limitations for another. Experience what it means to live fully. After choosing vBloc Therapy, many patients reported improvements in their daily lives.
- vBloc patients reported an improved quality of life2
- Many patients who lost weight with vBloc:2
- Improved LDL cholesterol levels
- Lowered triglycerides
- Lowered blood pressure
- Lowered heart rate
- Reduced waist circumference
- 85% of patients who received vBloc Therapy were able to maintain, decrease or discontinue their diabetes medications (in a feasibility study of 28 patients) while achieving improved glycemic control at 12 months3
It’s almost too simple to say I’m not as hungry. I have a mental freedom from food now and it is so worth it. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m getting help, but I’m the one making the choices. I’m finally able to do it.-Erica, vBloc Patient *
You’ve done the research. You’re ready to make a change. Get answers to some of the questions we are asked the most.
How is the surgery done? (What is the procedure?)
vBloc Therapy procedure is performed by a trained bariatric surgeon in an approved hospital or surgical center using general anesthesia. The surgery generally takes around 60–90 minutes. The surgeon will make three to five small incisions in your abdomen placing the Maestro System device near the rib cage just below the skin. Two specially designed leads (wires) are placed around your vagus nerve just above the stomach. Scarring is minimal after this procedure.
How long will I have to take off of work?
This is a laparoscopic procedure that will likely be performed in an outpatient setting and you may be able to resume normal daily activities after a few days of rest. Because the Maestro device is placed using a minimally invasive procedure, people generally enjoy a quick recovery. The type of work you are involved in will partially determine when you can return to work. vBloc Therapy generally requires less downtime for recovery than traditional surgery and is a great option for those who do not have the time or resources for an extended recovery period.
How Does vBloc Therapy work?
vBloc Therapy or “vagal blocking” is the first neurometabolic technology to enhance weight loss efforts by addressing hunger and fullness through brain and body communications. The vagus nerve is the main channel or message center that communicates between the stomach and the brain resulting in one feeling hunger.
vBloc Therapy helps to regulate this communication pathway by intermittently blocking vagal nerve signals. The vBloc Therapy is customized to your needs for hunger control; many patients report feeling less hungry between meals and feel full or satisfied much quicker at meal time, making it easier to eat less.
What are the risks of the surgery?
Any intra-abdominal surgery carries some risks, in the clinical studies including over 600 patients, vBloc Therapy has demonstrated a good safety profile. During the ReCharge Randomized Clinical Trial, vBloc demonstrated a related Serious Adverse Event rate of 3.7% which included neuroregulator malfunction, pain at the neuroregulator site, vomiting, partial collapse of a lung (atelectasis) and gallbladder disease.
All patients should discuss potential side effects in detail with their surgeon prior to proceeding with vBloc Therapy.
vBloc Therapy has been proven safe in clinical trials that included over 600 people worldwide.
What are the side effects of vBloc Therapy?
Most adverse events experienced in clinical trials were non-serious and were unrelated to the device, procedure, or therapy. Those that were related were generally mild to moderate in intensity. The most common related adverse events were pain, heartburn, nausea, difficulty swallowing, belching and abdominal cramping.
Serious side effects from the surgery, device, or therapy reported in the ReCharge clinical trial of vBloc Therapy were significantly lower than those reported in the literature for traditional weight loss surgeries.
Are there benefits of vBloc Therapy over other surgeries (i.e., Lap-Band, Gastric Bypass, and Gastric Sleeve)?
vBloc Therapy is 100% reversible, unlike many other weight loss procedures. It does not change the digestive system nor physically restrict vitamin and nutrient absorption. vBloc Therapy stimulates the vagus nerve, which is a unique therapeutic approach to weight loss surgery. It requires minimal intervention from your physician once the appropriate settings are achieved. It is ideal for patients with active or busy lifestyles as it does not require a special diet, supplements, or stringent food restrictions. For optimal results, patients still must make healthy food choices and participate in physical activity.
What are the positive health effects of vBloc Therapy?
Weight loss using vBloc Therapy can have a positive impact on obesity-related factors such as high cholesterol levels, blood pressure and glucose levels
Who is eligible to have vBloc Therapy?
You may be a candidate for vBloc Therapy if you meet these criteria:
- Have tried to lose weight by diet and exercise in a supervised program within the last 5 years
- Are at least 18 years of age
- Have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with a health-related condition such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- High cholesterol
BMI of 40 to 45
Is there a psychological component to the qualifications for this methodology?
This will be determined by your surgeon and/or health care facility. Generally, in order to safely prepare patients for surgery, there are pre-surgical testing requirements and a behavioral health (psychological) evaluation may be a part of the pre-surgical testing.
Will it affect my pacemaker/defibrillator?
Currently, vBloc Therapy should not be used if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator as there is a potential for electromagnetic interference between the devices.
Can I have this procedure done in another country right now? If I did, could I get aftercare in the US?
vBloc Therapy is available outside the United States in select countries. We are currently working on launching therapy training in the United States and will have more information on world-wide availability and after care at a later date.
Where can I get vBloc?
vBloc is available at numerous facilities throughout the United States. You can use our physician finder or call 1-800-698-2562 to get contact information for vBloc centers available in your area.
Can I talk to someone who has vBloc already?
Yes. Call 1-800-698-2562 and ask to speak with a patient ambassador. Usually, within a week a person currently living with vBloc will give you a call to speak with you about what life is like with vBloc.
What is the device made of?
The device is made of surgical metals encased in medical grade silicone and contains a rechargeable lithium battery. These components are routinely used in other implanted medical devices.
What if I’m allergic to the vBloc Therapy device?
To date there have been no reported adverse allergic reactions associated with the vBloc Therapy device. It is a mostly silicone device with lithium batteries and surgical metals. Talk with your doctor about any known allergies to the specific materials used in the vBloc Therapy device. If you have known allergies to the device materials, you should not have the device implanted. If you develop an allergy to the implanted materials, the device can be removed.
Do I need certain software to use the vBloc Therapy device?
No. The only software required for this device is used by your surgeon to adjust the device during clinic visits.
Can I adjust the frequency of the device myself?
The settings can only be adjusted by your clinician during an office visit.
Will it make me throw up? Will this make me sick to my stomach?
vBloc Therapy is not a physically restrictive therapy. It works to enhance weight loss efforts by addressing hunger and fullness through brain and body communications, interrupting hunger signals from the stomach to the brain. Vomiting considered to be serious and related to the device, implant/revision procedure or therapy was experienced in less than 1% of the clinical trial subjects who received vBloc therapy.
Will it be obvious to others that I have had this procedure? Will it buzz or be visible from outside? When it’s not charging, will anyone be able to tell I’ve had the procedure by looking at me?
There is no sound indicating that your therapy system is active. For some people, an outline of the implanted vBloc Therapy device may be noticeable beneath the skin’s surface near the rib cage. Your doctor will discuss with you the optimal placement of your vBloc Therapy device for comfort and functionality.
Do I have to eat a special diet after the surgery?
vBloc Therapy does not alter your anatomy and not does physically restrict food intake or impact nutrition absorption. Your doctor may advise you to eat a special diet immediately following surgery, however, you should be able to enjoy a normal diet with a wide range of foods without experiencing uncomfortable and embarrassing reactions.
How is the device controlled?
Your vBloc Therapy device will generally be programmed to deliver 13 hours of therapy each day for optimum therapeutic benefit. Programming adjustments are reversible, and customized to fit your lifestyle. It can also be turned on and off using wireless technology by your clinician as needed. All adjustments are performed in an in-office setting.
Can the vBloc Therapy device be removed?
Yes, the vBloc Therapy device can be safely removed by your surgeon.
What happens if I’m unable to charge the unit for a period of time (e.g., severe power outage, travel in remote area)?
The vBloc Therapy device can be charged again as soon as you have access to a power source. If you don’t charge your neuroregulator for two months or longer, it may no longer be able to deliver therapy.
Is it possible to get pregnant while using vBloc Therapy device?
vBloc Therapy does not alter your anatomy, so it would not affect your ability to get pregnant. You should inform your surgeon if you plan to become pregnant in the near future. If you become pregnant after the device has been implanted, contact your nurse or doctor. You cannot have this procedure if you are currently pregnant.
Will I have a problem with airport security?
You should not experience any unnecessary delays as long as you travel with your vBloc ID card. In some airports, security will be able to easily detect the device and no additional action is taken. Other airports may require you to simply present your ID card before proceeding through security.
What if I need to get an MRI?
vBloc Therapy is delivered via an implantable device which is considered MR unsafe. The implanted device is not compatible with MRI equipment. The procedure may result in nerve damage, burns, heating or pain. Before you undergo an MRI procedure, you must contact your nurse or doctor and inform them of the planned procedure. If the procedure is necessary, tell the radiologist, MRI nurse or technician that you have a medical device that is MR unsafe.
How will I know the device is working and what will it feel like?
Some vBloc Therapy patients have described a sensation in the stomach that feels like fullness as new therapeutic levels are introduced. Other vBloc Therapy patients reportedly do not feel any difference. In all cases, the battery level indicator is designed to illuminate to indicate that the mobile charger is connected to the neuroregulator.
How often will I have to go to the doctor after surgery?
A post-surgical follow up visit, approximately two weeks after surgery, will be required. Your clinician will adjust your device to help you achieve the best results. It may be necessary to have additional adjustments with additional visits as needed, for optimum therapeutic levels.
What if it becomes disconnected?
Your clinician is trained to handle any issues that may arise with your device and will provide instructions for contacting the office in the instance that issues arise. If the implanted device components become disconnected internally, you would need to have surgery to reconnect the device.
What is done in my bariatric follow up appointments? Do I need to visit my provider’s office every time an adjustment is made?
You will be instructed by your bariatric center to participate in follow-up visits as you start vBloc Therapy. These visits give you the opportunity to:
- Ask questions, check overall health, weight, device settings and recharging patterns.
- Review your goals and progress with your bariatric surgeon’s team to support your success.
- Review battery charging instructions with your bariatric team, and check to see how much therapy you are receiving.
- Optimize your device therapy settings or change the hours of therapy to adjust to your schedule or lifestyle.
What kind of on-going care will I need?
Long- term weight loss success with vBloc Therapy requires follow up visits with your clinician. Your clinician will provide detailed instructions on the required frequency of visits once your device has been set to help you achieve maximum results.
If I travel to have the procedure, who will see me afterwards?
Although we recommend that you select a clinician close to your home, we understand that this may not always be possible. Prior to surgery it will be important to discuss your situation with your clinician. If at all possible, we will work with your clinician to find follow-up care with a provider close to your home. Additionally, we are working with clinicians and facilities across the nation to bring programs on-line as quickly as possible to allow patients to have the procedure at a location that is close to their home.
How will I know when the device needs to be recharged? How long will it take to charge? Can I charge it from anywhere?
The battery level indicator will show when the battery needs to be recharged. We recommend that you adopt a routine charging pattern of at least every other day to provide optimal charge for the unit. Once connected, the unit can be placed securely in the belt and worn while engaged in morning preparations or on the drive to work. It typically takes about 20-30 minutes to fully charge the vBloc Therapy device unless the battery is completely out of charge. If the device battery is at zero charge, the re-charge time can take a few hours. If the device battery goes two months without charging, a clinic visit may be required to restart it.
The charging device must be connected to an AC outlet or an appropriate device to charge. The charger should be placed on the charging unit when not in use. A Mobile Charger with a low battery charge may take several hours to reach a full charge.
What if I forget to charge my device?
Your device should be charged every 1-2 days in order to maintain maximum life and operation of the vBloc battery. If the neuroregulator is not charged within a period of two months, the battery may lose its capacity to be charged and may no longer be able to deliver therapy. If your battery dies and you do not register any charge at all, you will need to schedule a visit with your clinic to have the device rebooted.
What if the charger breaks? Can it be serviced?
Your clinician will assist you in obtaining a replacement device in the event yours is damaged or lost.
How long will the device last? Does the battery ever wear out?
The Maestro System has a lithium ion battery much like those used in pacemakers and other implantable medical devices. It is expected to last up to eight years; however, it is warranted to last five years with normal use and recharging. Battery lives can vary.
What if I want to stop the therapy?
If you and your clinician decide therapy must be stopped for an emergency or a pregnancy, deactivation is quick and easy.
How much does it cost?
The cost of vBloc Therapy implant surgery is comparable to other weight loss surgeries.
Will my insurance cover it?
vBloc may be covered on a case by case basis. We are currently working through processes to achieve broad coverage. Call 1-800-698-2562 to be connected with experienced reimbursement case managers that will help you navigate the complex process of applying for insurance coverage with new technologies. Our team will assist in prior authorization and denial of appeals to maximize your likelihood of insurance coverage and access to care.
Are there financing options?
Yes, please call a member of our vBloc Access team to discuss your personal financing options.
What would it cost to have the device taken out?
If the device needed to be removed, your surgeon will discuss the options and cost at that time.
How much weight will I lose?
People who used vBloc Therapy lost more excess weight than those who relied on diet and exercise alone. In the ReCharge trial, patients who received an average of 12 hours of vBloc Therapy per day lost an average of 28% of their excess body weight in the first year.