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According to recent research on the effects of laparoscopic gastric banding, the weight loss achieved by the procedure can help prevent type 2 diabetes in obese patients as well as reduce the risk of high blood pressure. A follow-up study compared 73 severely obese patients who underwent the minimally invasive procedure and 49 similar patients who had refused the surgery. Four years after the gastric banding, the surgery group reduced body mass index (BMI) from 45.9 to 37.7; the nonsurgery group showed no significant changes in BMI. In the prevention aspect of the study, 5 participants in the nonsurgery group developed type 2 diabetes during followup, whereas none of those in the surgery group developed diabetes. In the remission portion of the study, 1 nonsurgery patient became diabetes-free, compared with 7 patients in the surgery group. One patient in the surgery group developed high blood pressure, compared with 11 patients in the nonsurgery group. Furthermore, 15 patients in the surgery group experienced resolution of their high blood pressure by the 4-year follow-up. Study authors concluded, "These data suggest that laparoscopic gastric banding is effective in preventing and promoting the remission of established type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.