Fewer Lap Band Procedures Across the Country

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that more people are turning to laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy instead of gastric banding.  The article reviewed more that 60,000 bariatric procedures performed at academic centers across the country from 2008 to 2012.  The findings are striking:

  • In 2008 gastric banding made up 23.8% of all bariatric surgeries,
  • In 2012 gastric banding only made up 4.1% of all bariatric surgeries.

One reason for this dramatic reduction in bands is the introduction of the sleeve gastrectomy.  In 2009, insurance companies began covering laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomies.  By 2012, 36.3% of all bariatric surgeries were sleeves.  This operation generally offers better weight loss than a band without a foreign body or the need for adjustments.  It also has a lower failure rate than bands, which can later require removal 30% of the time.  Many people see the sleeve as a way of getting the restriction of a band without as many downsides.

Carl Lowe, Jr., MD

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