Forget about diets, exercise and other weight-loss methods, for LAP band surgery is a cheaper way to fight obesity and diabetes, according to a new study.
The first of its kind Victorian study by Monash and Deakin universities has found that gastric banding can also provide more healthy years to highly obese patients, while saving the system thousands of dollars in ongoing costs.
The findings come in line with calls by doctors for weight-loss surgery to be subsidised.
Deakin University researcher Catherine Keating claimed that the immediate surgical outlay offset years of associated health costs.
"Our research shows that it costs less to treat type-2 diabetes early through gastric banding surgery than to allow the same person to live their life with the disease and face ongoing escalating treatment costs,'' The Herald sun quoted her as saying.
She added: "Most importantly, these patients could enjoy a dramatic improvement in their quality of life because early treatment using gastric banding surgery results in remission of diabetes for many patients.''
For the study, the researchers followed 60 obese patients for two years and found that the lifetime health care costs of gastric banding was 98,900 dollars, as compared with 101,400 dollars losing weight through conventional methods.
Also, the researchers highlighted that patients who had the immediate benefit of lap band surgery gained an additional 11.4 years of type-2 diabetes-free life, while those relying on conventional weight loss to beat the disease benefitted for only 2.1 years.
Ray Farrugia a patient who dropped from 122kg to 81kg through lap banding, said: "It's been brilliant. I was a happy fat guy, I never had any worries about my weight. But I could not run 50m without being out of breath. Now I can go for 5km.
"I would never have considered the surgery because it was such a big cost, but if it was subsidised people would undertake it."