A Lap-Band of luxury?

Lap-Band surgery positions a band around the upper part of the stomach, theoretically limiting the amount of food eaten at one time.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced new criteria that will make Lap-Band weight-loss surgery available to millions more overweight Americans. Pharmaceutical giant Allergan Inc., which makes the device, estimates an astounding 26.4 million more people are now eligible, massively increasing the California-based company’s profits. But it isn’t only Allergan welcoming the FDA decision.

“We have a major obesity dilemma in the Western world. Well, the whole world,” says Dr. Scott Shikora, the director of Boston-based Tufts Medical Center’s Weight and Wellness Center. “Currently, the Lap-Band is the best option. … These are people who have tried a multitude of programs. There is nothing else out there. Will the FDA’s decision open the floodgates? I don’t think so, because the question is, ‘Will insurers cover it?’”

Though Lap-Band surgery may limit the amount of food a patient eats, it doesn’t alter psychological factors for overeating. As Dr. Shikora puts it, “There is no magic pill or program for weight loss.”



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