FDA Loosens Lap-Band Rules

March 7, 2011

After an advisory panel to the FDA recommended that the body mass index guidelines be loosened for Lap-Band® patients, the FDA implemented part of this proposed change, giving those with lower BMIs access to weight loss surgery options.

Previous guidelines stipulated that for a patient to qualify for any kind of weight loss surgery, they needed to have a BMI of 40 or more or a BMI of 35 or more with one or more diseases associated with obesity such as type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. While the guidelines remain the same for those that are otherwise healthy (at 40 BMI or more), those who have co-morbidities can now have the surgery if their BMI is as low as 30.

These new guidelines only apply to potential Lap-Band® patients however. Patients looking to undergo other forms of weight loss surgery will still be subject to the previous guidelines.

The ramifications of this decision are substantial. Allowing the lower BMI qualification standard means that millions of people in the United States will now be able to qualify for Lap-Band® surgery. Of course those seeking weight loss surgery have to be fit for surgery in other ways too and each case is unique. Bariatric surgeons will continue to evaluate their patients’ particular circumstances to see if they are candidates for bariatric surgery.

This does not mean that private insurance and Medicare will adopt the lower BMI guidelines any time soon. Therefore, patients wishing to pay for surgery through their insurance may not qualify. In order to find out more about your eligibility and your payment options for the Lap-Band® or other weight loss surgery procedures, please call our office.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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