vBloc Therapy Vs Gastric Sleeve - All You Need to Know

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The most important takeaways when evaluating vBloc therapy vs gastric sleeve include:

  • How they work: Both make you feel less hungry and full sooner while eating. Only sleeve does so by removing 80% of your stomach. Only vBloc (i) does so using an implanted device that controls hunger signals sent to the brain, (ii) is reversible, and (iii) is adjustable.
  • Qualify: Sleeve requires 30+ body mass index (BMI) with health problems or 40+ without. vBloc requires 35+ BMI with health problems or 40 to 45 without.
  • Hospital & recovery: vBloc is a less complicated procedure with a shorter operating time, shorter hospital stay, and quicker/easier recovery.
  • Weight loss & health improvement: Sleeve results in about two times more weight loss and is much more likely to improve or cure your obesity-related health conditions
  • Insurance: Sleeve is covered if your policy covers bariatric surgery. vBloc only covered by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA facilities).
  • Cost without insurance: Sleeve is $500 to $1,000 more expensive than vBloc.
  • Diet & life after: vBloc has no diet restrictions. Sleeve has several restrictions. Exercise regimen is same for both.
  • Complications & side effects: Both have close to 100% survival rate. Sleeve has a higher risk of complications and side effects.
vBloc Therapy Vs Gastric Sleeve

Read and click the sections below for everything you need to know to decide which procedure is best for you.

Understanding gastric sleeve surgery vs vBloc Therapy starts with the fundamental differences in how each procedure impacts your brain and digestive system:

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric Sleeve

Why Gastric Sleeve Works

  • Reduced stomach size makes the patient feel full sooner after eating
  • Removed portion of the stomach means fewer hunger-causing hormones are secreted, causing patient to feel less hungry generally

How Gastric Sleeve Is Performed

Gastric sleeve surgery, also called the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), is performed by removing a large portion of the stomach to create a long pouch that connects the esophagus to the small intestine. The pouch is stapled and the rest of the stomach is removed. Some surgeons take an additional step to reinforce the staple line, although whether that is effective is up for debate.

vBloc Therapy

vBloc Therapy

Why vBloc Therapy Works

  • Implanted device periodically blocks the vagal nerve and prevents it from delivering hunger signals to the brain, making you feel full between meals and full sooner after smaller meals.

How vBloc Device Implantation Is Performed

Your surgeon will implant the vBloc Therapy device below your rib cage just under the skin. She will then attach the device to your vagal nerve, just above the stomach, via two leads (wires). The whole procedure usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

If necessary, during follow up office visits your surgeon can increase or decrease the device’s hunger-reducing settings remotely.

Recharging the Device

The vBloc device is battery-powered so it is important you charge it at least every other day.

Patients lose weight quickly after both the gastric sleeve and vBloc procedures. However, gastric sleeve patients:

  • Lose over 2 times more weight over the short- and long-term
  • Tend to gain back at least some weight over the long-term (although total long-term weight loss is still about 2 times more than with vBloc)

The below chart compares average weight loss over time for each procedure:

Timeframe
Timeframe
3 months
3 months
6 months
6 months
1 Year
1 Year
2 Years
2 Years
3 Years
3 Years
5 Years
5 Years
Timeframe
% of Excess Weight You’ll Lose with Gastric Sleeve
3 months
30%
6 months
50%
1 Year
70%
2 Years
65%
3 Years
60%
5 Years
55%
Timeframe
% of Excess Weight You’ll Lose with vBloc Therapy
3 months
10%
6 months
20%
1 Year
25%
2 Years
25%
3 Years
25%
5 Years
25%

Example

For for a person who is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 250 lbs, following is the amount of average expected weight loss for each procedure:

Timeframe
Timeframe
3 months
3 months
6 months
6 months
1 Year
1 Year
2 Years
2 Years
3 Years
3 Years
5 Years
5 Years
Timeframe
Gastric Sleeve: Total Expected Weight Loss for 5’7”, 250 lb patient
3 months
28 lbs
6 months
46 lbs
1 Year
64 lbs
2 Years
60 lbs
3 Years
55 lbs
5 Years
51 lbs
Timeframe
vBloc Therapy: Total Expected Weight Loss for 5’7”, 250 lb patient
3 months
9 lbs
6 months
18 lbs
1 Year
23 lbs
2 Years
23 lbs
3 Years
23 lbs
5 Years
23 lbs
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Gastric sleeve surgery is much more likely than vBloc Therapy to improve or cure (as long as you don’t regain the weight) at least 15 obesity-related health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.

The chart below compares study results by condition for each procedure:

Co-morbidity
Co-morbidity
Dyslipidemia hyperchole­sterolemia
Dyslipidemia hyperchole­sterolemia
Diabetes
Diabetes
Hyperli­pidemia (high levels of fat in the blood, high cholesterol)
Hyperli­pidemia (high levels of fat in the blood, high cholesterol)
High Blood Pressure (hyper­tension)
High Blood Pressure (hyper­tension)
Joint/Bone Disease (osteoar­thropathy)
Joint/Bone Disease (osteoar­thropathy)
Depression
Depression
Migraines
Migraines
Pseudo­tumor cerebri
Pseudo­tumor cerebri
Cardiova­scular Disease
Cardiova­scular Disease
Venous Stasis Disease
Venous Stasis Disease
Gastroeso­phageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroeso­phageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Mortality Reduction/ Life Expectancy (5 year mortality)
Mortality Reduction/ Life Expectancy (5 year mortality)
Quality of Life Improve­ments
Quality of Life Improve­ments
Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Pregnancy
Pregnancy
Asthma
Asthma
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Stress Urinary Inconti­nence
Stress Urinary Incontinence
Co-morbidity
vBloc % Improved /Resolved
Dyslipidemia hypercholesterolemia
Diabetes
Moderate
Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood, high cholesterol)
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Joint/Bone Disease (osteoarthropathy)
Depression
Migraines
Pseudotumor cerebri
Cardiovascular Disease
Moderate
Venous Stasis Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Mortality Reduction/Life Expectancy (5 year mortality)
Quality of Life Improvements
Metabolic Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Pregnancy
Asthma
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Stress Urinary Incontinence
Co-morbidity
Gastric Sleeve % Improved /Resolved
Dyslipidemia hypercholesterolemia
64%
Diabetes
55%
Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood, high cholesterol)
35%
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
68%
Joint/Bone Disease (osteoarthropathy)
46%
Depression
Most
Migraines
40%
Pseudotumor cerebri
n/a
Cardiovascular Disease
100%
Venous Stasis Disease
95%
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
50%
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
n/a
Mortality Reduction/Life Expectancy (5 year mortality)
89%
Quality of Life Improvements
93%
Metabolic Syndrome
62%
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Most
Pregnancy
Most
Asthma
90%
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
62%
Stress Urinary Incontinence
90%
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In order to have vBloc Therapy, your body mass index (BMI) must fall within one of the following ranges:

  • 35 to 39.9 with an obesity-related health problem such as, but not limited to:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Sleep apnea

In addition, vBloc requires that you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have been unable to keep off weight with diet or exercise during a medically supervised diet program in the last 5 years

In order to have gastric sleeve surgery, your BMI must fall within one of the following ranges:

  • Body mass index 40 or above or
  • Body mass index from 35 to 40 as long as you have a serious obesity-related health problem (“comorbidity”) such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, joint problems, sleep apnea, or one of many others.
  • Body mass index from 30 to 35 may be accepted if certain health issues are present

Use the BMI Calculator above to determine your body mass index.

vBloc Therapy is currently only covered by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA facilities). If you do not have VA coverage, you’ll need to pay for the procedure out of pocket.

Gastric sleeve surgery will be covered by your insurance as long as your specific insurance policy includes weight loss surgery. Use the tool below to find out if your plan covers it and, if it does, what your out of pocket costs are likely to be: