Dothan, AL - Patients of the Lap-Band surgery have credited the weight loss device to saving their lives.
And now, the less invasive procedure is opening its eligibility to more people.
“Allegan, which is the maker of one of our bands, has been fighting with congress to lower the body mass index because people that have 50-65 pounds of weight to lose can benefit by having the lap band,” said Alta Beegle, Bariatric Coordinator at Flowers Hospital.
Beegle is a lap band patient herself.
Right now, a patient has to have a body mass index of 35 in order to qualify for the surgery and must have co-morbid conditions like diabetes or hypertension.
“They're going to have at least a 3 year history of being morbidly obese and we are going to check that criteria and the insurance companies as well will make sure that this isn't for someone who just rushed and put on ten pounds so that they could get the lap band,” said Beegle.
But if the hospitals take part in the FDA's new expansion, patients with a 30 BMI can qualify.
It's a surgery Matthew Davidson says changed his life.
But he adds, it wasn't an easy road.
“It's not an easy fix and I thought, maybe that might have too in the very beginning but you're not going to be able to eat exactly what you want to eat, you're not going to be able to eat as much as you want to eat," said Davidson.
Beegle says she has seen an 85 to 90 percent success rate with the lap band.
She says the eligibility expansion could mean a new beginning for hundreds of patients.
The Southeast Alabama Medical Center also offers the Lap-Band procedure.
Flowers hospital has yet to follow the FDA’s new requirements.
To qualify for the surgery at Flowers, a person has to have at least a 35 BMI.