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Dr. Mehran: Hi, my Name is Dr. Amir Mehran. I'm the surgical director of bariatric surgery
at La Peer Health Systems. Many of you have been hearing a lot of news,
both negative and positive, about adjustable bands, commonly known as the Lap Band -- and
some of you have been appropriately concerned about what you've been hearing.
Placement of foreign bodies around the stomach to help patients lose weight is actually not
a new phenomenon. It's been around for about 30 years or so. The previous versions of the3se
however, failed either because of a high risk of complications, revisions or operations,
or because the simply did not work as good as the more standard operations, such as the
gastric bypass with the duodenal switch. In the mid-1990s, the new adjustable versions
came in the overseas market and they started doing a lot of those in contrast to the other
surgeries. The adjustable band came to the United States as the lap band back in early
2003, once it got FDA approval. And after that, the number of these devices actually
rapidly rose. There was very aggressive marketing that went
along with this. It was marketed by medical groups, by surgeons, by the companies, by
marketing/advertising programs with the same premise of easy to do, adjustable, risk-free
and essentially a very low risk type way of losing weight.
A very minority of us surgeons have consistently, persistently held the same position, saying
that better options do exist in these patients., and it is very wrong to take advantage of
the vulnerable patients which have lost weight, gained weight, have tried everything possible
to keep their weight loss and have been unsuccessful. And now these marketing campaigns went after
them giving them a lot of these promises without truly discussing with them the real problems
and issues that can occur with these cases. Those problems and issues that were being
seen back overseas are now being seen here in the United States as well.
One of the other concerns that patient may have is all that news that's coming out, that
the company that was selling them in the United States, and one of the two companies that
sold them is actively trying to find a buyer for the device, which they were really advertising
and marketing aggressively until about a year or two ago. That should be of concern as well
to those patients.