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The FDA Approves LAP-BAND® System Surgery for More Patients

The FDA Approves LAP-BAND® System Surgery for More Patients


The FDA has approved LAP-BAND® System surgery for an increased number of patients. In the past, only patients with a BMI (body mass index) of at least 40, or 35 with at least one obesity related medical condition, were approved for this bariatric surgery procedure. Now, patients with a BMI of 30 or higher, with one obesity related medical condition, can be approved for LAP-BAND® System surgery. There are still other requirements that doctors take into consideration before performing the surgery, but the expanded guidelines open the doors for many patients who otherwise would have been immediately turned away.

A body mass index above 40 indicates that the patient is at least 100 pounds overweight. An estimated 37 million Americans have a BMI between 30 and 40, in addition to a minimum of one obesity-associated ailment. That's 10 percent of the population that could qualify for LAP-BAND® System surgery.

Another stipulation of the new LAP-BAND® System surgery guidelines is that potential patients must have previously tried other weight loss treatments such as diet and exercise. If patients are unable to lose significant weight with other options, they may be able to qualify for LAP-BAND® System surgery. However, doctors warn that the LAP-BAND® System procedure will not do all the work. Patients must adhere to a regimen of a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. Without this, LAP-BAND® System surgery will not produce a successful outcome.

The LAP-BAND® System procedure involves the attachment of an inflatable silicone device to the top portion of the stomach. This greatly reduces the size of the patient's stomach, typically from a six-cup capacity to only half a cup. Because of the stomach's reduced size, the top portion quickly fills with food and enables only a slow and steady amount to make it into the lower portion of the stomach. When the upper portion fills up, the brain thinks that the whole stomach is full, reducing the patient's desire and ability to intake more food. In turn, patients are able to lose a significant amount of weight because they eat smaller portions, eat less often, and feel full quicker when they do eat.

In a study that was conducted to determine the viability of changing the BMI requirements for the LAP-BAND® System procedure, 149 patients that were obese for an average of 17 years prior to the surgery were monitored. The results showed that 84 percent of patients in the study lost at least 30 percent of their excess weight, 65 percent of those in the study were no longer considered obese, and all of the patients in the study were able to keep the weight they lost off through the second year of the study. The approval of less stringent standards for LAP-BAND® System candidates is certainly good news, and many will find the study's statistics inspiring. Hopefully more patients will take advantage of a procedure that has the potential to transform their lives for the better.

If you are interested in undergoing LAP-BAND® System surgery, contact a bariatric surgeon in your area.

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