BMI 30 or 50lbs Overweight Now Qualifies You For Lap Band Surgery

The US Food and Drug Administration was spurred by a recent study to ease their restrictions on lap band surgery. Allergan, who manufactures lap bands, studied 149 patients who had been overweight and had a BMI higher than 30 for many years to see how successful patients were post-surgery.

The milestone set was for them to lose 30 percent of their body weight within a year, and 84 percent met that goal, with 65 percent keeping the weight off for at least an additional year.

With this evidence that the bands actually do work, the FDA lowered the requirements for surgical help to a BMI of 30, provided they have tried diets and weight loss drugs, and have a related condition.

As Dr Simpson says:

"It used to be your BMI had to be over 35 or you had to be 100 pounds overweight to be eligible.  Now you qualify with a BMI of 30 or 50 pounds overweight."

Most commonly, diabetes and high blood pressure go hand in hand with obesity. This means that a person could be as little as 50 pounds overweight and still qualify for medical intervention.

What is the Surgery Like?

A lap band is a relatively simple medical device. It's essentially a ring that doctors cinch around the top third of the stomach, thereby restricting the space and the amount of food the post-surgical patient can eat at any one time. The actual operation takes about an hour, and requires only a few small incisions.

The procedure is done with laparascopic techniques to fasten the ring and create the smaller stomach pouch. Reduced recovery time is a prime advantage of the lap band over gastric bypass, because there is no stomach cutting or stapling.

During surgery, the doctor will also attach the band's filling tube just below the skin. There is a port at the end which is used by the doctors to add saline to the band, which restricts the stomach further. Local anesthesia is generally used, and in most cases is outpatient surgery.

Post-Surgery to Three Months

The hardest part of lap band surgery for the patient really is adjusting to the eating plan to be followed post-surgery. Keep in mind, it is vital to follow the eating instructions faithfully or complications can require more surgery.

For the first couple of days following surgery, you will only be allowed water and clear liquids. Then you'll step up to a modified liquid diet, which will consist of two ounces of protein shake every hour for ten to twelve hours each day, along with soup, baby food, and jello three times a day for about six weeks after surgery.

During the second six weeks after surgery, you will reintroduce more foods, though shredding in a food processor first is necessary. Basically, meats and other proteins, salads, and vegetables will be your mainstays during this phase. The post-surgery diet excludes the majority of bread, potatoes, and most starches.

Those who regularly drink coffee or tea should know that they are off-limits for the first three months post-surgery. Carbonated beverages, even diet versions, likewise are forbidden, as they will cause gas, bloating, and also expand the stomach's size. Alcohol intake is not recommended, as ingesting alcohol will cause food to slide out of your stomach more quickly than wanted, and also because of the size limitations, drinks otherwise would be on an empty stomach.

Ongoing Eating Plan - Protein Supplementation

Getting enough protein is extremely difficult after the surgery, especially since the stomach will never hold more than four to six ounces per meal. Lap band patients need fifty to sixty grams of protein daily; protein deficiency causes fatigue, muscle weakness, and hair loss as well as possible anxiety and depression.

Tiny bites and chewing extremely well are important as you train your new, smaller stomach. Even so, some foods might be removed from your diet for good if they aren't well tolerated. Citrus fruits may be difficult to eat unless the membrane is first removed, and the seeds and skins of all vegetables and fruits will likely be problems.

Spicy or fried foods sometimes cause problems, as do certain spices like pepper, onion, garlic, and cinnamon. High fiber veggies like sweet potatoes and celery may fill the stomach uncomfortably.

Milk is sometimes not tolerated well, in which case other protein and calcium rich foods should be added. Cottage cheese and powdered dry milk can add protein easily. Meats will be tolerated better if they're cooked in liquid or ground up; tough meats like steaks and pork chops often will cause stomach pain.

The Good News: You Will Lose Weight

Most people will lose weight steadily and safely, at a rate between one to three pounds per week, which is considered a healthy rate of loss. Expected loss is usually about 50% of excess weight in the first year after surgery. Results will vary depending on lots of factors including diet and exercise and weight prior to surgery.

As the weight comes off, most patients find their related health problems go away or get substantially better. Issues such as high blood pressure, knee pain, sleep apnea, and diabetes generally are improved or cleared up altogether.

Now that the FDA has cleared the way for many more people to utilize lap band surgery to lose weight, only you can decide if it is right for you. Diligently research until all of your questions are answered and you know what to expect at every step of the procedure and afterward.

This guest post written by Denise Gabbard for her friend Elaine at of cookwarehelp.com (link removed due to malware attack to that site). She recommends an excellent set of nonstick pots and pans to help your weight loss journey, regardless of how you decide to proceed.

Why in the world..

A very well written and quite informative article. But the whole time I was reading it (just found this site so was just reading around) I couldn't help but wonder at the things people do to their bodies.

I mean, good grief do people really have so little will power that they need an artifical limitation on how much food can fit in their stomach? (the answer to that question is obviously yes)

Why do such a thing when you can lose weight naturally (and fairly easy at that) Then again, it sounds much less intrusive than gastric bypass so I guess the lesser of two evils.

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