The gastric band is a very useful tool for those suffering from obesity, but who are not morbidly obese (those with a BMI of 40 or over). As a result, several years ago, the FDA approved the Lap-Band for use in patients with a BMI of as low as 30-34.9 if they are also experiencing one or more obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or sleep apnea.
Patients with relatively lower BMI can benefit significantly from the gastric band because even relatively “milder” cases of obesity can put the patient at a significant risk for various cardiovascular, bone and joint problems.
It may be tempting to choose the Lap-Band as the be-all, end-all solution. However, it is important that patients exhaust more conservative weight loss options before they decide to undergo bariatric surgery. It is also important that they understand the benefits and risks of any bariatric surgery. After all, while complications rates are relatively low, it is still major surgery. For that reason, patients should schedule a consultation with Dr. Lublin to discuss the possibility of the Lap-Band to help them lose some of their excess weight.
Finally, please note that while the FDA has approved the Lap-Band for patients with BMIs as low as 30, not all insurance companies cover the procedure. Many still require a minimum BMI of 35. It is therefore important to learn more about your particular insurance policy. We can help you verify your benefits as well. Feel free to give us a call to learn more about the Lap-Band for lower BMI patients and see if it is the right option for your particular circumstance.