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Can't stop eating? Pump will suck your stomach contents

Segway inventor Dean Kamen's AspireAssist has helped obese people lose half their excess weight.

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Meet the "apparatus for treating obesity by extracting food." That's what Dean Kamen's stomach pump is called in a recently granted U.S. patent, and it looks a lot less fun than Kamen's most famous invention, the Segway.

The good part is you can eat anything you like. The bad part is you have to get a tube put into your stomach and then suck the food out with a gadget called the AspireAssist.

Kamen and a team of physicians developed the pump as an obesity treatment that's reversible and, as they describe it, "minimally invasive."

During a 20-minute procedure, users are fitted with a removable stomach valve and a tube that leads from the top of the stomach to the valve's outside port.

About 20 minutes after eating a meal, users go to the bathroom and attach the AspireAssist to the port. About a third of the meal is drained out through the gadget and into the toilet. Check out an animation here.

So far, the device is available in parts of Europe, but hasn't been approved for sale in the U.S. It's undergoing clinical trials.

"In our U.S. clinical trial, patients lost, on average, over 20 kg (45 pounds) in the first year (or 49 percent excess weight loss)," Aspire Bariatrics says on its Web site. "The most successful patients -- those who aspirate regularly and begin to make healthier choices -- lost 100 percent of their excess weight and have maintained that weight loss. Because the procedure and device are relatively simple, the AspireAssist may be affordable for patients who cannot afford bariatric surgery."

(Via PopSci)