A stomach surgery known as Lap-Band has been found not only to provide good weight loss and reduction of obesity-related illnesses, but also to be safe enough to be performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure, which involves placing a silicone band around part of the stomach to limit the amount of food a person can eat, costs much less than stomach bypass surgery and has fewer complications.
William Scott Helton, MD, performed this Lap-Band procedure on 925 obese patients between 2001 and 2004. Except for 30 patients who experienced postoperative blockage, all the patients went home the day they had the surgery, with only one requiring readmission. After a year, the patients had lost approximately 42% of their excess weight. In a similar study, Hadar Spivak, MD, and colleagues performed the Lap-Band procedure on 535 patients between 2002 and 2003, and these patients lost 45% of their excess weight. At a recent medical conference, Dr. Spivak noted Lap-Band's effect not only on treating obesity, but also on lowering blood pressure, improving or resolving diabetes-related problems, and reducing the flow of stomach acid reflux.