New research has revealed that Lap-Band surgery can induce weight loss in long-term obese patients and provides support for use of the procedure in patients with milder obesity. Lap-Band surgery is a laparoscopic procedure that limits food intake with minimum interference with the normal digestive process. By wrapping a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach, a small upper stomach pouch is created that is connected to the lower stomach through a narrowing created by the band itself. Food passes slowly from the upper to the lower stomach region and creates a fuller feeling longer. The Lap-Band can be easily adjusted after surgery according to how much weight the patient is losing.
The Lap-Band system was first approved in the United States in 2001. The FDA approved it for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater and for patients with a BMI of at least 35 with an obesity-related condition, such as hypertension or diabetes. In 2011, with mounting evidence showing that Lap-Band is safe and effective in lower BMI patients, criteria was expanded to include patients with a BMI of 30-35 with an additional condition.
In the new study, funded by Allergan, the makers of the Lap-Band, researchers performed Lap-Band surgery on 149 patients. The patients all had either a BMI of 35 to 39.9 without an obesity-related condition, or a BMI of 30–34.9 with at least one other condition. The group had been obese for an average of 17 years.
The findings were encouraging. Nearly 85 percent of patients had lost at least 30 percent of their excess weight one year after the procedure. The group’s average excess weight loss was 65 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the patients were no longer obese. Many patients who had an obesity-related condition experienced improvement or resolution of the condition following surgery, as well. The findings indicate that the procedure may help to intervene when patients are mildly obese–before obesity becomes life-threatening. Lead researcher, Dr. Robert Michaelson of Northwest Weight Loss Surgery said, “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.”
If you are interested in weight loss surgery, we are here to answer your questions. At Oregon Weight Loss Surgery, we specialize in the Lap-Band, as well as the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. You can learn more about the procedures we offer and whether weight loss surgery may be a good option for you by calling our office at (503) 227-5050 or by attending one of our free educational seminars.