Why Diet? FDA Expands Access to Lap-Band Surgery

Why bother dieting when you can go under the knife to lose those unwanted pounds? Last week, an FDA advisory panel approved an expansion of the use of Allergan Inc’s Lap-Band, a gastric banding device used to achieve weight loss in morbidly obese adults. The FDA committee voted 8-2 that the benefits of the Lap-Band surgery outweighed the risks for those with lower BMIs, such as those considered overweight or obese.

Because the device, an inflatable silicone ring that constricts the upper part of your stomach, can be inserted laparoscopically and is removable, the Lap-Band is a popular choice among weight loss surgeries. Up until now, the Lap-Band was only approved for those who have reportedly been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise and have either a BMI of 40 or above or approximately 100 lbs. overweight, or a combination of a BMI of 35 or above and at least one serious weight-related health problem, such as hypertension or diabetes. Allergan submitted a request to the FDA asking to market the Lap-Band device to people with a BMI of 35, or to those with a BMI of 30 with concurrent health problems.

According to the New York Times, this approval could double the number of Americans who qualify for Lap-Band surgery; Allergan certainly has the staggering obesity statistics to back up its request. Currently, it is estimated that one-third of adults are obese, or have a BMI of 30 or greater. Further, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that women with a BMI of 30 to 35 had a 44 percent higher risk of death than women who had a BMI less than 25.

There are limitations and larger issues to consider with the accepted expansion of this surgery. To start, BMI is a rudimentary and unsophisticated measurement. It does not take into account sex or body composition, such as ratio of muscle to fat. Further, obesity is, more often than not, more complicated than simply overeating. Many people that undergo bariatric surgery are required to see a psychologist to work through the psychological difficulties of cutting down on the amount of food consumed. Following the surgery, recipients of the Lap-Band can only eat about a half cup of food at one time.

Medical device companies and pharmaceuticals make a tremendous amount of money off of those in poor health. Obesity is, after all, a remarkably expensive condition. It is estimated that we spend $147 billion a year treating weight-related illnesses. This FDA approval will mean that insurance companies will be able to cover the cost of the surgery.

With the incredible amount of people who now qualify, it’s time to be proactive, not reactive. Although most patients experience a 40 to 50 percent loss of excess weight, it should be noted that the Lap-Band, or any other weight loss surgery, does not guarantee weight loss. It is simply a tool to help with weight loss, but it must be used appropriately. Ultimately, lifelong diet and lifestyle changes must be made to lose weight and keep it off. As with any surgery, there are risks associated with the procedure, in addition to those specific to the gastric bypass such as band erosion or slippage.

While the FDA committee ruled that the benefits of the Lap-Band outweigh the risks, it’s still important to focus on prevention. The bottom line: this isn’t a miracle cure, it’s part of a whole lifestyle shift that takes work.

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9 Comments

  • Very well written article; thank you for mentioning that being overweight is not as simple as eating too much. Thank you for also mentioning that the band is a TOOL, not some magical cure all. I think people have a tendency to see WLS as “cheating” and overlook the fact that there is a large amount of discipline required to acheive the best results. Diet and exercise alone just aren’t enough for some of us…

  • This is a very dangerous surgery that causes blockage and kidney problems. The surgery results show that the band slips and can cause DEEP PAIN and Death. The body will never be the same with this band in it. It is not natural and it can ruin your life. Many who have had this surgery regret it.
    Studies show that weight problems are not from stuffing your face but from food chemicals. This is the reason for the diabetes and obesity crisis NOT McDonalds.

    The Obesity Diabetes drug makers and Lap band doctors are getting rich off obesity and diabetes

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

  • quote-
    “Further, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that women with a BMI of 30 to 35 had a 44 percent higher risk of death than women who had a BMI less than 25”

    I’m pretty sure the risk of death is 100% for all groups. greater risk of death from what or when?

  • I am living proof that the lap band works! I had the procedure done 2 years ago. Now my weight is what it was when I graduated from high school!

    If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I have not regretted having the surgery in any way, shape, or form.

    I agree that it is only a tool and not a magic cure all. Once a person learns to accept his new limitations and works within them, the rest comes easy. My weight fluctuates about 3 to 4 lbs. I actually lost 2 lbs over the Christmas holidays!

    Do some homework and talk to your doctor. Good luck!

  • To maintain its commitment to healthy eating and meet your weight loss goals, a number of foods that are needed to avoid after LAP-BAND surgery. The most obvious exclusion of a healthy diet is important to be high. As high levels of fat found in many foods may appear healthy, it is important to control fat intake and choose alternatives to low-fat whenever possible. For example, buying low-fat dressings and sauces, and limit consumption of products such as margarine and olive oil only 3-4 teaspoons a day.Another obvious topic to avoid when pursuing healthy eating habits is sugar. In general, most cakes and candies contain large quantities of sugar and should be avoided. But items such as jam, honey and soft drinks also pack a punch sweet and should be eliminated in favor of healthier foods.

    http://www.whatisguide.net/1225-liquid-diet.html

  • Nice informative article you wrote there mate. Lap Band Surgery Diet refers to a diet plan that is prescribed to people who have undergone a Lap Band Surgery. This diet regimen is easy to follow, since it advocates minimal restrictions. It essentially lays out a structured program towards ensuring that the effectivity of the lap band surgery is maximized and thus, weight loss is achieved quickly and safely. I have read one article about Lap Band Surgery Diets at http://www.howtoloseweight.org/Lap-Band-Surgery-Diets.html What do you think about this page?

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