(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles…)
Many more people are about to get the now-famous Lap-Band, it's probably safe to assume. Thus it's worth giving some thought to the implications.
The device's maker, Allergan, announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing the device to less obese people -- those with a body mass index as low as 30 who have at least one weight-related medical condition.
"That would make an estimated 11 million more Americans eligible to receive the device, which shrinks the size of the stomach to reduce food intake — assuming they can persuade their insurance companies to pay for the $25,000 cost of the device and the surgery to implant it," as this L.A. Times story reports.
For those with Type 2 diabetes, the Lap-Band could be an immediate fix. "This operation takes about an hour, and two days in the hospital, and these people go off their diabetes medication. It's unbelievable," Dr. Walter J. Pories, a professor of surgery at East Carolina University and a leading researcher on weight-loss surgery, said in this L.A. Times report.
But a note of caution is warranted. Four deaths in Southern California have been linked to clinics that aggressively promote Lap-Band surgery on billboards and in radio and TV ads, according to allegations made in lawsuits and by relatives of people whose deaths are linked to the surgery.