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Weight Loss Surgery Not Just for the Morbidly Obese?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Special weight loss surgery helps morbidly obese patients get rid of excess pounds. But it may also help those who are just moderately obese, according to new research.

Bariatric weight loss surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. That creates a new smaller upper pouch allowing the patient to eat only small amounts of food. It also provides longer appetite suppression.
           
In the past, the FDA had only approved the lap-band surgery for obese patients with a BMI of at least 40 or with a BMI of 35 with a severe comorbid condition. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved bariatric weight loss surgery both for morbidly obese patients and for those who may have previously failed to meet more conservative criteria with a BMI of 30-35.
 
Now doctors are studying new data made available by the lap-band maker Allergan that could make lap-band surgery available to people who are just moderately obese.

Researchers looked at 149 people with BMI's of 35 to 39.9 who had no additional health issues related to obesity, and others who had a BMI of 30 to 34.9 with at least one obesity-related ailment.
           
One year after the surgery, nearly 85 percent of the patients had lost at least 30 percent of their weight. Two-thirds of the patients were no longer considered obese, and they had lower levels of cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. The patients also maintained their weight loss for two years after surgery, or even improved on it.
 
Though the data does suggest that lap-band surgery may help moderately obese people lose weight, the researchers say lap-band surgery should be carefully evaluated since it carries serious risks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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