Lap Band Surgery Or A 500 Calorie Diet?

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If you are contemplating lap band surgery then you might well be encouraged by the results of an Australian study which reported that, in a controlled test, lap band surgery proved to be far more effective in the long term than a very restrictive 500 calorie diet. However, before you rush off to your surgeon, you might just like to take a moment to examine the study closely.

The study involved a total of 80 patients half of whom were given lap band surgery and half of whom were put on a very low calorie diet of just 500 calories.

After six months both groups were showing similar results and had lost about fourteen percent of their starting weight. However, at the end of two years the results for the two groups looked very different.

The lap band surgery patients had lost about twenty two percent of their starting weight and showed a marked improvement in their health and quality of life. By contrast, the dieting group had re-gained much of the weight they lost in the first few months of their diet and, on average, were only just over five percent below their starting weight.

This result would seem to confirm what many people, including most doctors, already know and this is that dieting, other than to lose the odd pound or two now and again, really doesn't work. It would also appear to make a strong case for gastric banding.

Lap band surgery is one of several options open to patients as a solution to the problem of morbid obesity and is generally only considered once a patient's BMI reaches 40. Exceptions can be made and lap banding offered to patients with a BMI as low as 35, but this is normally only done when the patient is also suffering from a potentially life threatening medical condition which is linked to being overweight. For the majority of patients this means that lap band surgery would normally be considered at the point at which they are about 100 pounds overweight.

In the case of this study however the patients chosen for the study were just 50 pounds overweight. So, can we really rely on these results when this is not the target group to which lap band surgery would normally be applied?

The truth of the matter is of course that lap band surgery can be very effective in cases of morbid obesity and is proving to be a very popular choice with many patients. As with all forms of obesity treatment however it is vitally important that we collect sound data so that the various different methods can be evaluated and patients given accurate advice on which they can base their treatment decisions.

Studies of this nature certainly do not add to the base of knowledge which we need to be building and have more to do with grant funding from a lap band manufacturer than they do with any desire to advance the treatment of obesity.

Of course that is only the writer's view and you may well disagree.