FDA opens lap band surgery to greater number of Americans

Photo of a stomech with a lapband.

Lap band surgery is now available to more Americans. CC by InvictusOU812/Flickr

Food and Drug Administration criteria for lap band surgery patients have been adjusted by the agency. After reviewing studies on the results of lap band surgery, the FDA has lowered the minimum body mass index to be eligible if patients have an obesity-related condition. Lap band surgery is a viable weight loss tactic for 26 million additional people in the U.S. with the FDA guideline change.

Lower BMI for lap band surgery now acceptable

The new FDA lap band surgery guidelines reduce the minimum body mass index to be eligible for the procedure from at least 40 BMI to 30 BMI. To get approved for a lap band surgery, a person has to have 26 percent body fat. In addition, they can get the surgery as long as they have an obesity related condition like high blood pressure or diabetes — if they haven’t been able to get diet to work for weight loss. The Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System is commonly known as the lap band. A band is put on the upper portion of the stomach to clinch it. The lap band restricts the amount of food a person can eat during a meal.

Facts on weight loss surgeries

Gastric bypass is a different weight loss surgery than lap band surgery. In order to reduce how much food is being taken in, a gastric bypass surgery makes the stomach smaller along with taking out a piece of intestine. More weight is lost with the gastric bypass surgery. It is riskier to do, though. Within a few days of a gastric bypass surgery, many with type 2 diabetes will see a decrease in the symptoms associated with diabetes. With lap band surgery, diabetes symptoms are not affected until the patient loses weight, which can take several months. There is another way in which the two surgeries differ: gastric bypass surgeries aren’t reversible. The lap band is easily reversible. About 220,000 weight loss surgeries were performed in 2010 in the U.S., and gastric bypass accounted for about 60 percent of them.

Articles cited

CBS News

Los Angeles Times

Web MD

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