Laparoscopic vagal nerve blocking device explantation: case series and report of operative technique

Tarin C. Worrest, Bruce M. Wolfe, Samer Mattar, Erin W. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Vagal nerve blockade with the vBloc device (ReShape Lifesciences, St. Paul, MN) has been shown to provide durable 2-year weight loss in patients with moderate obesity. These devices may require removal. We present a series of patients and report our technique for laparoscopic removal of this device. Methods: From December 2009 to December 2016, the medical records of patients who underwent laparoscopic explantation of a vagal blocking device at our institution were retrospectively reviewed. All patients initially underwent device placement as part of a multi-center, randomized, controlled trial. The device leads were removed with the application of firm traction in order to safely dissect them away from the stomach and esophagus as the body tended to form a fibrotic capsule surrounding the leads. Operative details, length of stay, 30-day post-operative complications, demographics and reasons for device removal were reported. Results: Thirty patients were identified. Median age was 54 (37–65) years. Average operative time was 227.63 (± 100.21) min. Median time from implantation to removal was 41 (11–96) months. Removal reasons included device malfunction (7 patients, 23.3%), pain at the neuroregulator site (5 patients, 16.7%), retrosternal or epigastric pain (11 patients, 36.7%), weight regain or dissatisfaction with weight loss (15 patients, 50%), and severe nausea (2 patients, 6.7%). Two patients (6.7%) had Clavien–Dindo grade II complications following explantation. Thirteen patients (43.3%) had dense adhesions noted at the time of operation. Seroma formation at the neuroregulator site was the most common complication (7 patients, 23.3%). Conclusion: The vagal nerve blocking device can be safely removed laparoscopically with a low 30-day complication rate. Surgeons should be familiar with the details of the device appearance, the typical lead location, and should anticipate dense adhesions surrounding the leads. In addition, experience operating in the region of the gastroesophageal junction is imperative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3600-3604
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Vagal blocking device
  • vBloc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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