19 February 2011

More Bariatric Surgery Seems Unnecessary

It is easier to understand why bariatric surgery is being pushed harder for people with lower body mass index. The FDA has now approved the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding (LBAGB) System for obese adults with at least one obesity-related medical condition. This means that these people will no longer be available for bariatric surgery, and they don't want to lose a lucrative source of income.

The lap-band is an inflatable band that is placed around the upper part of your stomach and it is used to help limit the amount of food that can enter your stomach. The FDA's approval means lap-band surgery will now be available to patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher who have at least one obesity-related condition, such as diabetes.

Previously, the lap-band system could only be used in adults with a BMI of at least 40 or a BMI of 35 or higher with at least one severe obesity-related medical condition. Now when the new research is put next to it, current guidelines, bariatric surgery is only indicated for the treatment of severe or morbid obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater.

By contrast, the new study is open to patients with a BMI as low as 26. Normal-weight individuals have BMI ranging between 19 and 25 and overweight individuals have BMI between 26 and 29, whereas a BMI above 30 defines obesity. Patients with a BMI below 26 and above 35 will not be considered for enrollment in the trial.

Previous research has shown that in severely obese patients (BMI greater than 35) gastric bypass surgery is a safe and effective way to treat Type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to improve or normalize blood glucose levels, reduce or even eliminate the need for medication, and lower the risk for diabetes-related death. Read my blog here about how bariatric surgery may only be masking the problems of diabetes.

The lap band was for BMI of 35 and higher and now is approved for BMI of 30 and higher so the bariatric surgeons who used to operate for BMI of 30 to 35 are investigating 25 to 29 to keep their income from expensive surgeries.

Read both articles, the one on bariatric surgeries here, and the lap-band article here.

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