FDA Considering Approval of Lap-Band Procedure for Teens

In response to a large number of successful Lap-Band procedures in 18-year old patients, the makers of Lap-Band have applied for FDA approval of Lap-Band surgery on patients over 14 years of age, a recent ABC News story reports.

Allergan, the creator of the Lap-Band surgical procedure, only promotes its product for use by patients 18 and older, as that is the age range currently approved by the FDA. Increased childhood obesity and great success with young patients have spurred Allergan to make this decision. The company stated that the link between obesity and other diseases such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes played a role as well.

Lap-Band Procedure a Good Option for Teenagers

Reversibility may be one of the reasons that the Lap-Band procedure is potentially a better option for teenagers than other procedures, such as gastric bypass. This means that patients could have the procedure at 14 and give themselves the option of having it reversed in the future, once their weight is stable and their lifestyle can support it.

Additional benefits of the Lap-Band procedure over other procedures include a lower morbidity rate and a lower occurrence of nutritional deficiencies, something particularly important for younger, developing patients.

According to Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding, who is an associate professor of surgery at NYU, “Lap-Band surgeries help promote healthy lifestyles because they initially take away appetite and improve a sense of fullness with smaller portions of food – resulting in weight loss. Once a teenager begins losing, they become more comfortable in participating in exercise and daily activities. They are both more physically able to do it, and less socially inhibited to try.”

Allergan is currently conducting clinical trials to determine how effective the Lap-Band procedure may be for morbidly obese teenagers, and could not comment on the timeline of the FDA decision.

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