Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing the Lap-Band weight-loss surgery to patients who are significantly less obese than those who now use the device, according to an announcement Wednesday by its maker, Irvine-based Allergan Inc. The approval allows Allergan to market the device to patients with a body mass index of as low as 30 if they have at least one weight-related medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, the company said. That would make an estimated 11 million more Americans eligible to receive the device, which shrinks the size of the stomach to reduce food intake — assuming they can persuade their insurance companies to pay for the $25,000 cost of the device and the surgery to implant it.
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