Public Service Announcement from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)

ASMBS has just announced that Ethicon Endo-Surgery will discontinue the production of Gastric Band device for weight loss. ASMBS and FDA continue to endorse gastric banding as a weight loss procedure. Adjustable gastric banding is rarely being performed these days in Houston and all over the country. The procedure that has gained so much popularity few years ago has proven to be an ineffective approach to durable weight loss. Gastric banding, a purely restrictive procedure, has become the ultimate proof that gastric volume reduction by itself is not a weight loss procedure associated with durable weight loss. Calorie restriction is no longer accepted as an effective weight loss solution.

Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. continues to manufacture the Lap Band device. ASMBS continue to endorse gastric banding as an effective weight loss procedure. I don’t have an explanation behind this endorsement. I think it is time for ASMBS to update their guidelines and save new patients from falling victims of a weight loss procedure that has proven to be not only ineffective but also detrimental to esophageal motility. Indeed, gastric banding results in dilation of the distal esophagus and hiatal opening. It damages esophageal motility and results in severe acid reflux disease. We continue to deal with lap band complications and frustrated patients on a weekly basis. Let’s stop the damage today.

The ASMBS holds a central role in guiding bariatric surgeons across the country and in educating the public on obesity treatment. The ASMBS ought to help develop novel effective and safe weight loss procedure while outdating and denouncing current weight loss procedures that do not work. Our knowledge of obesity and energy metabolism has greatly evolved over the past few years. We can no longer accept weight loss procedures based on wrong outdated assumptions from the past. Obesity treatment paradigms will continue to evolve and I wish ASMBS remains a leader in our field, approving the right weight loss procedures and disproving those that do not work.