Sunday afternoon, four experts representing multiple disciplines will discuss several new devices for the treatment of obesity during a DDW Clinical Symposium jointly sponsored by AGA, ASGE and SSAT. The 90-minute symposium, The Role of New FDA-Approved Approaches in the Management of Obesity: Intragastric Balloons, Vagal Manipulation and Aspiration Therapy, is part of a larger effort by the societies to address the obesity epidemic.

“This is an issue that crosses a lot of disciplines,” said symposium co-moderator Shelby A. Sullivan, MD, visiting associate professor of medicine in gastroenterology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora. “Whether you’re a gastroenterologist, endoscopist or surgeon, we all recognize that we don’t have enough people treating obesity.”

Ali Tavakkoli, MD, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, agreed that awareness isn’t the problem, especially in the GI profession.

Ali Tavakkoli, MD

“We all understand the burden obesity puts on our patients and our health care system,” said Dr. Tavakkoli, who will co-moderate the session. “But for the longest time, the mainstay of treatment has been lifestyle intervention. And while surgery has been effective, it has not been accessible or acceptable to many patients with multiple barriers to surgery.”

Only 1 to 2 percent of patients who qualify for gastric bypass surgery elect to have the procedure despite data that show surgery leads to durable weight loss, increased life expectancy and a reduction in associated medical conditions, Dr. Tavakkoli noted.

“But now we have exciting new options, including endoluminal interventions,” he continued. “These newly approved procedures provide patients with options for less invasive but still effective treatments to help them manage their weight and associated comorbidities.”

Most of the devices that will be discussed Sunday have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The four panelists will review the clinical data relevant to practicing gastroenterologists and surgeons.

“We’ve selected panelists that have been involved and, in many ways, are pioneers in developing these devices,” Dr. Tavakkoli. “They’ll bring unique insight into the challenges of using the devices from an expert perspective.”

The symposium will conclude with a summary presentation reviewing practical considerations for incorporating novel obesity devices into a multidisciplinary practice. The session will also include a review of devices that are still in development.

“Although most of the devices being discussed are available, the reality is most are not yet covered by insurance,” Dr. Tavakkoli said. “So how do you integrate these devices into your practice? It can be challenging, but this symposium will offer some insight on that for interested practitioners.”

Please refer to the DDW Mobile App or the Program section in Sunday’s DDW Daily News for additional details on this and other DDW® events.