Lap-Band Effective For Expanded Group of Patients

lapband_expandedWhen the Lap-Band weight loss procedure first became available in the United States in 2001, it was reserved for the severely obese (BMI of 40 or higher) and for patients with a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with an obesity-related condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Then a few years ago – prompted by research overwhelmingly demonstrating the effectiveness of the Lap-Band – the FDA expanded the criteria for surgery. The procedure was made available to patients with milder obesity (BMI of 30 to 34.9), who have at least one obesity-related condition.   Now, the findings of a new study support further broadening access to the procedure.

In the study funded by Allergan, the maker of Lap-Band, Dr. Robert Michaelson of Northwest Weight Loss Surgery and his colleagues performed the procedure on 149 patients. The patients had either a BMI of 35 to 39.9 and did not have an obesity-related condition, or had a BMI of 30 to 34.9 with at least one obesity-related condition.

The key finding was that at one year after their surgery, almost 85 percent of patients achieved at least a 30 percent loss in excess body weight. The average excess weight lost was 65 percent. More than 2/3rds of patients were no longer obese. Many patients experienced improvement in their obesity-related conditions, including roughly 85 percent of patients who had diabetes, 64 percent of patients who had high cholesterol and 60 percent of patients who had hypertension. Further, the results were either maintained or improved at two years post-surgery. The findings indicate that Lap-Band surgery may help to intervene before obesity becomes life threatening to patients.

“The results of this study convinced the FDA that early intervention in the continuum of obesity is the right thing to do: Treat before people go on to develop serious conditions related to obesity,” said Dr Bob Michaelson.  This study, in combination with similar studies, also prompted the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to issue a statement endorsing surgery for patients with moderate obesity who have failed with other methods of weight loss. The findings were published in the journal Obesity.

Related Reading: New Data on Long-Term Results of Lap-Band

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