Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) is a misunderstood weight loss surgical procedure that has helped thousands of patients suffering from obesity for 24 years. Most bariatric surgical procedures such as the lap-band, require multiple interventions (beginning with least invasive to more invasive) during a patient’s life, just like other chronic diseases. While the article in JAMA suggests that subsequent surgical interventions post AGB are costly, a group of concerned bariatric surgeons disagree.
The JAMA article reported that among 18.5% of patients underwent about 4 (and some as many as 12) additional interventions post Adjustable Gastric Banding. AGB patients usually undergo either one or two additional operation, therefore the bariatric surgeons wonder about the reasons behind the questionable data. It could be one or more of the following reasons: (1) assignment of inaccurate International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes during subsequent hospitalizations for patients who were initially coded as an AGB patient; (2) inclusion of procedures to address post-stapling complications in patients who had their bands removed and were subsequently converted to a stapling procedure; (3) performance of multiple operative interventions on AGB patients by surgeons who have no familiarity with the gastric band and its aftercare; and (4) inadvertent billing for up to 12 surgical procedures when indeed such procedures were never performed.
Bariatric surgeons admit that subsequent procedures on AGB patients are costly. However, since AGB is one of the safest and most effective bariatric interventions, it should be reimbursed by Medicare and other insurance plans. It is regretful that the public has been misrepresented with inaccurate data and misguided by the deceptive article reported by JAMA. However, the bariatric surgeons are thankful for the chance to provide their second opinion in General Surgery News.
The most popular Adjustable Gastric Banding procedure in the world is the lap-band procedure. It is one of few procedures that had been proven to be very effective and safe as a weight loss surgery. Choosing the right obesity treatment is a serious task and should not be taken lightly. If you happen to be a Los Angeles or Southern California resident who needs to speak with a weight loss physician regarding their weight loss problem and obesity treatment options, please visit LapBandLA.com.
References: A Second Opinion on Gastric Banding retrieved from http://www.generalsurgerynews.com/Opinions-and-Letters/Article/07-17/A-Second-Opinion-on-Gastric-Banding/41843/ses=ogst?enl=true