On December 3rd, an FDA Advisory Panel ruled in favor of indicating the LapBand procedure for patients with a BMI of 35 and greater, and for patients with a BMI of 30-35 with a significant medical comorbidity. This is a significant step in allowing patients access to surgical weight loss who were excluded previously due to BMI limitations. Keep in mind this is only an Advisory Panel decision, and the FDA will make a final ruling in the next few months. In general, the FDA will follow the recommendations they receive from such panels.
How does this impact us? Well, assuming the FDA makes its final decision in favor, some insurance companies may adjust their coverage criteria to match the FDA guidelines. This would probably increase the number of LapBand procedures being performed in the US.
I am in favor of the current ruling because there are plenty of patients (who I have had to turn away) who would benefit form surgical weight loss and fall within the BMI 30-40 class.