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Gastric Banding for BMI of 30+ Now Available

Concerned about whether you’re eligible for Lap Band Surgery? Gastric Banding was previously recommended to those with a BMI of 35 and above with a weight related complication. Thanks to recent research and advances here in Australia and in the US, we are pleased to see the procedure has become widely accepted as an option to support those with a BMI of 30 or above with a weight related health complication.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over half of Australia’s population is considered overweight and obese. Obesity is calculated by the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight and applies to adult men and women. Guidelines suggest that a person with a BMI index of 30 or greater is clinically obese.

Obesity-related health complications, like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers, can be avoided or relieved through weight loss and surgery allows for the most sustainable success in achieving these objectives.

Weight loss can be achieved through a variety of conservative weight loss therapies, such as diet, exercise and pharmacotherapy; however, it is quite difficult for those already suffering from obesity to maximise weight loss simply through healthy eating and and active lifestyle. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the Lap Band weight loss system for adults with a BMI of 30 and above, with at least one related health complication, who have exhausted common weight loss therapies (view eligibility requirements here).

The Lap-Band is an adjustable silicone band designed by Allergan and considered an alternative to the more extreme gastric bypass surgery. Lap Band surgery is preferred over gastric bypass surgery, as it is less invasive, allowing for reduced pain, shorter hospital stays, and an earlier return to normal everyday activities.

This Lap Band device slows down the dispersion of food that enters the stomach, restricting the amount of food that can be consumed in a single meal. The reduction in calorie intake, generated from early sensations of fullness, helps patients to gradually lose weight and keep it off. The procedure is reversible and adjustable, allowing patients to control their intake and weight loss. There are minimal complications and no impact on the normal functioning of the digestive system.  According to Allergan, the band has been used in around 600,000 people since 2001 in the United States and around 80,000 in Australia.

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Lap Band Surgery is Australia’s most frequently performed weight loss procedure, with results showing a large majority of patients loosing a significant amount of their excess body weight.  Obesity is a costly disease, with much of the money being put into medication, medical visits, and carer situations. The loss of income related to the disease is also astronomical. The economic burden to Australia’s health system and healthcare resources continues to grow and is currently estimated at $8.283 billion. A study predicted that the total number of Australians diagnosed with obesity in the year 2025 will be 4.6 million, which is 18.3% of the population. If the obesity epidemic does not slow down this will mean a much larger expenditure in treatment of the disease for the Australian health system and Australians.