Lap Band approved for the just barely fat.

Not too long ago I wrote this about Allergan’s push to get the FDA to approve the lap band for people with a BMI as low as 30.  If you missed that post, go read it because it contains links to actual photographs of people with a BMI of 30 so you can see who we’re talking about.

A group of bariatric physicians wrote a letter urging the FDA not to approve the band due to lack of long-term studies that show it is safe and effective.  Again, these were bariatric physicians, not bariatric surgeons– in other words, people who are experts in treating fat patients but who don’t stand to be rolling in money from letting just about everybody with a fat roll get a lap band.  But money talks, and true concern for the lives and health of fat people walks.  The FDA has approved the expansion of eligibility for the band.

There are health-based criteria for who can get a lap band at such a low BMI, but I can’t help but feel like this is a camel’s nose under the tent that will eventually lead to widespread implantation of hardware into people’s bodies for vanity.  There’s a Long Island surgical practice that does lapbands, and their subway ads don’t show people’s dramatically improved AIC or cholesterol levels.  They show a woman in a bikini and another woman raving about how she doesn’t have to shop in plus size stores anymore and how, as soon as she lost the weight, a husband magically appeared.  I wish she could have seen the Adipositivity Project’s Valentine’s Day Special series (warning: NSWF) before she concluded that she needed the fat surgery in order to find love (or at least before allowing herself to be marketed that way by her surgeons), but I digress.  She does also mention that her diabetes is in remission, but that hardly seems the main thrust of the ad.

I guess the only way to get long term data on safety and effectiveness is to have subjects to study.  You can’t claim safety if you don’t have data, but you can’t get data if you don’t have subjects.  I get it.  But then the message you need to be sending in the meantime is “Hey, we’re basically experimenting on you,” not, “Woo hoo, shop off the rack at the skinny chick stores and snag yourself a husband to boot!”

 

 

 

 

 

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