FDA Panel Advises Expanding Use of Gastric Bands

gastric band

UPDATE [2/17/11]: The FDA has now approved the use of LAP Bands for anyone with a BMI of 30 who also suffers from an obesity-related health condition.

On Friday, a Food and Drug Administration panel recommended expanding the use of gastric bands, or LAP bands, to treat obesity. Currently, only patients who are morbidly obese can qualify for stomach band surgery, which can aid in weight loss by restricting the amount of food that the stomach is able to hold. If adopted, the new recommendation will allow about 12 million more obese people to receive the implant.

About 15 million people currently qualify for gastric banding surgery, which means they have body mass index score of 40 or higher, or 35 or higher if the person has weight-related health condition. The new guidelines would lower the BMI score to 35 or 30 with a health condition.

Unlike gastric bypass surgery, the gastric band is not a permanent measure. “As a clinician, it’s pretty common for patients to come in because they’ve heard about banding,” said Dr. Eric DeMaria, a surgeon at Durham Regional Hospital. “It’s probably the lowest-risk surgical procedure available for morbid obesity.” However, the bands are not a guarantee of weight-loss, because it can not change deeply-ingrained eating habits. “There are certainly people who’ve had gastric bypass surgery and managed to turn themselves back into their original size by sipping on milkshakes all day,” said Dr. Derek Lowe.

The FDA will make a finial decision in the coming months.

Via USA Today.

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