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Weight Loss Surgery Now an Option for More Obese Patients

Severely overweight adults who have at least one weight-related medical condition now have the option to choose the Lap Band Adjustable Gastric Banding (LBAGB) System to help them meet their goal of losing a significant amount of weight.

This change in FDA qualification criteria means that obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and who have diabetes or any other weight-related ailment, will now be approved to undergo the surgery.

Prior to this development, only obese adults with a BMI of 40, or a BMI of 35 and a weight-related condition, were able to have the Lap Band surgery.

In this procedure, which is designed to reduce the amount of food that the stomach can hold, an inflatable band is surgically placed around the upper region of the stomach, thus limiting food intake.

To date, some 37 million Americans have a BMI of 30-40 or more, together with a medical problems stemming from obesity. Many diseases and other ailments are directly related to excess weight, including some types of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, stroke and high blood pressure.

At present, the only FDA-approved device for bariatric surgery used for patients with a high BMI is the Lap Band. Of course, this type of surgery is only recommended for patients who have been unsuccessful with other forms of weight loss, and who are physically and emotionally able to withstand the surgical procedure.

Physicians and bariatric surgeons agree that the Lap Band provides a much-needed weight loss option for obese people. In addition, the procedure is praised for its success rate when combined with medically supervised diet and exercise programs. Lap Band surgery has proven effective in helping patients meet their goals of long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.

Of course, the patient must make a commitment to the major changes in lifestyle that bariatric surgery will bring.

The Lap Band is not recommended for children, pregnant women, or patients who have been diagnosed with some type of disease, or those who have medical conditions that could cause on a review of a five-year research study involving patients with a BMI ranging from 30-40. Some of the patients in the study had weight-related health problems, some did not.

The expanded approval is based on a review of data from a five-year study of the Lap Band system in 149 patients with a BMI between 30 and 40, either with or without a co-existing obesity-related health problem. The patients had been obese for 17 years on average.

At least 40% of the
Lap Band
study patients needed to lose a significant amount of weight within one year – at least 30% of their excess weight.

Lap Band surgery. And as it turned out, some 65% of these patients had lost so much weight that they were removed from the clinical “obese” classification. Added to that, the majority of patients were able to keep the weight off by the second year after the study.


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