GES is being investigated as a treatment of obesity. The GES device consists of a battery-powered implantable pulse generator, a 15-inch lead wire with two electrodes, and an external programmer. The pulse generator is implanted in a subcutaneous abdominal pocket between the rib cage and belt line. The implanted lead and electrodes are attached to the stomach muscles with permanent stitches. The external programmer is a computer that is used noninvasively to give instructions to the implantable pulse generator. The implantable pulse generator then delivers electrical pulses to the stomach muscles. The primary factor in the physics of electric stimulation is the frequency of pulse bursts (every five seconds). Other factors include the duration of the pulse burst and the frequency of the burst when delivered. Additional parameters include current (five to 10 milliamps) and pulse width (200-500 milliseconds).
It is thought that GES may cause feelings of increased satiety (feeling full) leading to reduced food intake and weight loss. The exact mechanisms that result in changes in eating and behavior are uncertain. The mechanisms may be related to neuro-hormonal modulation and/or stomach muscle stimulation.
Will I live longer if I use gastric electrical stimulation for the treatment of obesity?
Scientific evidence is not available to show if GES works for the treatment of obesity. Weight loss may cause you to live longer.
Will use of gastric electrical stimulation for the treatment of obesity improve my quality of life?
There is no scientific evidence available to show if GES works for the treatment of obesity. Weight loss may improve your quality of life.
How safe is this for me?
Much more information, including data from more individuals who have had the procedure and longer follow-up, is needed to determine the safety of GES for treatment of obesity.
Serious potential complications may include:
Alternative treatments include:
Treatment for obesity requires a team approach. You should consult your health care provider if you are considering any of these options. Scientific studies that compare gastric electrical stimulation with the alternative treatments for obesity listed above are not available.
The cost of gastric electrical stimulation for treatment of obesity may range from $45,000 to $65,000 or more.
The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.
The following are off-site links :
Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. (2011, April). Health care guideline. Prevention and management of obesity (mature adolescents and adults). Retrieved August 14, 2012 from http://www.icsi.org/obesity/obesity_3398.html.
OHTAC Recommendation. (2006, August). Gastric electrical stimulation. Retrieved August 14, 2012 from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/ohtac/tech/recommend/rec_ges_081806.pdf.
This document has been classified as public information.