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Weight-loss surgery may have best effect in less-obese patients

June 16, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Ellen Duke, president and chief executive of BioEnterics Corp., holds a Lap-Band device, which is implanted around the stomach to limit food consumption.
Ellen Duke, president and chief executive of BioEnterics Corp., holds… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Weight-loss surgery has been reserved for people who are morbidly obese, with a body mass index of 40 or greater. However, both gastric bypass surgery and adjustable gastric banding surgery is increasingly performed on less-obese people. That may be a good thing, according to a new study.

Researchers at Stanford University looked at the outcomes of 981 people who had gastric bypass surgery. The patient's BMIs ranged from below 35 to greater than 50. The lower-BMI patients had better outcomes than the higher-BMI patients. They lost more weight and had higher rates of remission of diabetes.

The study was presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

Whether overweight and obese people should undergo bariatric surgery before they become super-obese is a major question in the medical field these days. In February, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Lap-Band for use in adults with a BMI of 30 or higher with at least one obesity-related condition. Prior to that decision, the Lap-Band was approved only for people with a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35 or greater with one obesity-related condition.

"This initial study suggests the sooner we can treat morbid obesity and obesity-related conditions, the greater the chances the patients will have better results without any differences inĀ  complications," Dr. John Morton, a co-author of the study, said in a news release.

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