Lap-Band approved for those less obese

Feb. 17, 2011 at 11:20 PM
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IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. officials say the maker of the Lap-Band, used in weight-loss surgery, may treat patients less obese than those who have already had the surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration gave its approval for Allergan Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., to market the Lap-Band to those who have a body mass index of as low as 30 and have at least one weight-connected medical condition, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

An estimated 11 million more Americans would be eligible to have the surgery, which shrinks the size of the stomach to reduce food intake, the Times reported.

Currently, approximately 37 million Americans meet the criteria for the procedure, Allergan said.

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes may be mitigated after the procedure when the patient loses weight, which can be several months after the surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery, the other of two weight-loss procedure options, can start to alleviate such symptoms much more quickly, the Times said.

Both procedures originally were reserved for patients with a body mass index of 40, for example, a 5-foot-9 person weighing 270 pounds. The newspaper said the FDA approval will probably convince insurance companies to pay for the surgery for less-obese patients.

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