VBLOC therapy

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Duke weight loss surgeons are among the first in the country to offer VBLOC therapy as an alternative to weight loss surgery. The newly-approved device emits signals which control feelings of fullness and hunger. The pacemaker-like therapy is the first to block the hunger signals that travel along the vagus nerve, which extends from your brain to your stomach. In clinical trials, people lost an average of 28 percent of their excess weight in the first year when the device was used as prescribed. Improvements were also seen in obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

First in North Carolina to offer weight loss device

VBLOC therapy is an alternative to weight loss surgery. Rather than altering the stomach or intestine, Duke weight loss surgeons use small incisions to implant the rechargeable generator under the skin during an outpatient procedure. Two wire leads connect the device to electrodes, which are placed on the vagus nerve in the stomach. After the procedure, external controllers are used to charge the device, and allow your doctor to adjust the device’s settings for optimum use and minimal side effects.

Choose Duke for your VBLOC therapy because we offer:

  • Excellent patient outcomes. Our quality of care, years of experience, comprehensive services and positive patient outcomes are the reasons why our program is designated a Center of Excellence and Center of Distinction by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, Blue Cross Blue Shield, OptumHealth and Cigna. Only centers that meet their strict criteria are included among their distinguished centers.
  • Experience matters. Our weight loss program has been serving Raleigh and Durham for more than 20 years. It is staffed by board-certified surgeons who are fellowship-trained, meaning they have completed additional years of training in bariatric surgery. They perform approximately 800 bariatric surgeries each year. Studies show that surgical experience is an important indicator of your successful outcome.
  • Our commitment to you. Our surgeons, physician assistants, psychologists, nutritionists, endocrinologists, nursing, and anesthesia teams are committed to helping you achieve your weight loss goals. We work with you and your doctor to establish a successful weight loss plan.
  • Choosing the right approach. Your initial consultation will include an extensive physical exam and nutritional, psychological, and lifestyle evaluation. We also carefully evaluate you for all related medical conditions. This often requires special studies and occasionally consultations from medical specialists. This information helps us recommend the safest, most effective surgical approach for you. 
  • Scheduling your procedure. Scheduling surgery depends on your individual circumstances and insurance requirements. Surgery typically occurs within weeks of the initial consultation.
  • Safer, minimally invasive surgery. Nearly 99 percent of our weight loss surgeries are completed laparoscopically, meaning they only require small incisions. In some cases, we use robotic tools to minimize incisions for more complex procedures that would normally require larger incisions. Smaller incisions translate to less pain, fewer complications, smaller scars, shorter stays, and faster recovery. Sometimes an abdominal incision is necessary based on your weight, body shape, and surgery history.
  • Post-surgery body contouring. If unwanted, loose skin and tissue hide the results of weight loss surgery, our skilled plastic surgeons can work with you to smooth and shape your body and ensure you feel and look your best.
  • Support groups before and after surgery. We offer free, monthly and weekly support groups in Durham and Raleigh to people who are preparing for weight loss surgery, as well as those who have already had surgery. Our experts address a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes. You will also have the opportunity to talk to people with similar experiences in an educational and supportive setting. Your weight loss surgery did not have to be performed at Duke to participate in these support groups.

Comprehensive consultation

The journey to weight loss surgery includes several consultations to evaluate your medical condition and overall well-being. The consultations are typically scheduled to take place during your first visit to our weight loss surgery clinic.


Several tests are needed to complete the medical evaluation. Tests can be completed at Duke Raleigh Hospital or Duke Regional Hospital, or your surgeon can order the tests at a location that is convenient to you.

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