Background: Obesity is now one of our major public health problems. Effective and acceptable treatment options are needed. The Lap-Band system is placed laparoscopically and allows adjustment of the level of gastric restriction.
Methods: A prospective study of 709 severely obese patients was conducted over a 6-year period at a university-based multidisciplinary referral center. After extensive preoperative evaluation, patients with a body mass index > 35 were treated by Lap-Band placement. Close follow-up with progressive adjustment of gastric restriction continued permanently. Medical co-morbidities were monitored as part of comprehensive prospective data collection.
Results: There have been no deaths perioperatively or during follow-up. Significant perioperative adverse events occurred in 1.2% only. Reoperation has been needed for prolapse (slippage) in 12.5%, erosion of the band into the stomach in 2.8% and for tubing breaks in 3.6%. A steady progression of weight loss has occurred through the duration of the study with 52 +/- 19% EWL at 24 months (n = 333), 53 +/- 22% EWL at 36 months (n = 264), 52 +/- 24% EWL at 48 months (n = 108), 54 +/- 24% EWL at 60 months (n = 30), and 57 +/- 15% EWL at 72 months (n = 10). Major improvements have occurred in diabetes, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea and depression. Quality of life as measured by Rand SF-36 shows highly significant improvement.
Conclusions: Placement of the Lap-Band system provides safe and effective control of severe obesity. The effect on weight loss is durable and is associated with major improvement in health and quality of life. It has the potential to provide a broadly acceptable option for this common and serious disease.