FDA approves EnteroMedics' novel device to treat obesity

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it has approved a new device to treat obesity, the first since 2007.

Known as the Maestro Rechargeable System, the device, made by EnteroMedics Inc, controls hunger and feelings of fullness by targeting the nerve pathway between the brain and the stomach.

It is implanted surgically into the abdomen and works by sending electrical pulses that interfere with the activity of the vagus nerve, which signals to the brain that the stomach is empty.

A 12-month clinical study showed that patients implanted with the device lost 8.5 percent more weight than the control group.

That did not meet the main goal of the clinical trial, which was to show weight loss of 10 percent or more. But an FDA advisory panel considered additional data and concluded that the benefits of the device outweighed the risks for certain patients.