*A new study conducted in Europe has questioned the long-term effectiveness of the popular Lap-Band weight-loss device, finding that many patients suffered major complications and half of them eventually had the device removed.
The report, published Monday in the Archives of Surgery, focused on 82 surgeries performed from 1994 to 1997. Even though patients reported losing significant weight, complications such as band erosion and infections led researchers to conclude the surgery had “relatively poor long-term outcomes.”
The Lap-Band, manufactured by Irvine, Calif.-based Allergan Inc., is a silicone ring that is surgically fitted over part of the stomach to discourage overeating.
Because the device was approved for use in the United States in 2001, long-term research has focused on surgeries performed abroad. Jacques Himpens, the lead author of the study published Monday, works with the European School of Laparoscopic Surgery at Saint Pierre University Hospital in Brussels.
Allergan officials criticized the study, saying it was flawed and contradicts other studies that have found the device safe and effective. A 2004 study, for instance, found that just 17 percent of patients had opted to have their bands surgically removed, said Caroline Van Hove, an Allergan spokeswoman
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